I promised another blog on my Shanghai shopping experiences.
This woman, Lee, worked in the 'Shanghai Fabric Market.' "Lee, we might not speak the same language, but we sure have a common bond!." Hint: did you read her t-shirt?
So this was the 'Fabric Market,' i.e. 'Shanghai South Bund Soft-Spinning Material Market,' where folks go to get clothes made. A 20 minute cab ride from the center of town, but cabs are cheap cheap cheap in China. Twenty minutes in a cab was between $4-5.
None of the cab drivers speak English, so make sure you get the name of your destination written in Chinese before you leave your hotel.
After ten days alone in town, I was feeling like a deaf mute, silently holding up small slips of paper with Chinese letters, in order to communicate.
The Shanghai Fabric Market was 4 floors of crowded stalls, loaded with rolls of fabric and sample clothing. No dressing rooms, no English. But I was psyched, thought I would come home with a few fun and original dresses.
Armed with magazine clippings of designer clothes, I dragged out bolt after bolt of silk fabrics. Geeez, could the prints get more loud or garish?! Nothing like the beautiful Italian print in the Vogue ad. Oh well.
Next strategy: I have a classic dress with me, I'll pick a nice plain fabric and have it copied. Can you make it just a bit bigger, this dress is a bit tight?
After measuring me EVERYWHERE, arms, thighs, knees, you name it, I thought WOW this dress is really going to fit!!
What do you think?
Next day, I feel like Houdini trying to get into the dress without flashing the masses sans dressing room.
Oh goodness, you must have gotten my measurements mixed up with those of Queen Latifah.
If I go back to Shanghai, which I would, don't let my whining discourage you... I would try a different strategy in the Fabric Market.
1) Pack pants or dress that fit perfectly to copy.
2) Pick fabrics from the beautiful mens suit fabrics in the ground floor stalls.
3) Wear a body suit or bicycle shorts and tank top (under your sack dress) on measuring and fitting day.
4) Ask, in your best Chinese, to have a second day fitting, pre-finished product.