Making Trails

the travel blog of Lauren Nishizaki

Shopping in Shanghai


There are many shopping malls scattered throughout Shanghai that are full of extremely pricey brands. Several of them are located within the financial district of Pudong. When walking around these malls, it is easy to forget that they are in China, as the vast majority of brands have English names. One of the fanciest malls I walked into had brands like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Luis Vuitton, Prada, Tiffany’s, Cartier. In other words, there were a lot of brands in one location that I’ve read about in magazines, but have never seen let alone walked into a store that only carried that designer.

And of course, there was also an Apple store in the middle of the Lujiazui financial area.

At the end of the season, most companies will have sales to make way for the new season’s styles. I was able to do some shopping when the big sales occurred in July. It was a very common thing to walk around a big mall seeing big red and yellow signs saying “6 折”,”5 折”, “3 折” in every window (40%, 50%, and 70% off the original price, respectively).

Many stores will mail things to your address for free if they don’t have the thing you want in stock. In Tianzifang, Wenrui and I purchased leather shoes. However, because the store owner didn’t have the correct color and size combination, he told us that he would have them made for us and shipped free to our hotel. Well, “free” — the shoes I ended up getting were 399 yuan, or ~$70.

Woo is a well-respected brand with stores all over China. The store sells very good quality silk and wool scarves. The stores all seem refined and elegant, yet very colorful. The higher end products (a handmade heavier silk shawl/scarf, a fine merino wool knit shawl/scarf died in a delicate gradient) are ~1800 yuan. There are also hand-embroidered (and double sided, a traditional Chengdu craft) silk scarves, as well as wool scarves painstakingly hand-embroidered, a traditional Muslim craft. The shopkeepers are very nice and friendly, and VERY eager to make a sale.

Taobao is a website that seems similar to the Amazon marketplace. Individuals or companies sell their own products through the website, and each seller typically specializes in one style or type of product. I purchased a pair of Latin dance shoes from a seller on Taobao, and they cost approximately 30 yuan, or $6. Return shipping for the alternate size was an additional 12 yuan.