Reporting from Beijing: My Chinese Fashion Awakening

Submitted by on Tuesday, 31 March 2009 | One Comment

ShanghaiAs I’m in Beijing for three weeks, I thought this would be the perfect time to blog about Chinese fashion. As China moves forward on its path to modernisation, an increasing number of  Chinese citizens are finding that they now have a disposable income at their fingertips. Added to this is the more market based economy – in other words, more massive shopping centres/ markets and more people with the spending power to buy from these places.  With more international fashion related events being held in China ( Fendi on the Great Wall 2007 anyone?) , a Chinese Vogue established since 2005 and an 11 year history of a China Fashion Week- could Beijing/Shanghai be the next Paris and Milan?

China Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2009

Moving away from the designer market, the main thing of note about China is the price of everything for the average shopper. Even with the pound being so weak, everything is amazingly cheap in the local clothes and accessories markets.  Moreover, who needs to buy designer when you can buy a really good reproduction? A Chanel 2.55 for 200 kuai (around £20) – yes please! The fake industry in China is extensive to say the least. Obviously there are different levels of quality- from your bog standard “Kalvin Klein” t- shirts to the type A quality uncanny copies. It is just a matter of knowing the right places to go and having amazing bargaining skills- which brings me to another amazing aspect of shopping in China- haggling. Haggling is an art form which takes a bit of time to master. Generally if the Chinese vendors see that the buyer is Western, they will inflate their prices beyond reason. However, if done in the right way- those pair of fake Uggs that the vendor originally charged you 500 kuai for (around £50) could be yours for just a tenner.

Chinese people usually buy their clothes/shoes etc from massive indoor markets. The experience can be overwhelming at first with hundreds of stalls crammed in together and the clothes hanging up higgledy piggeldy- its like a huge Primark on a bad day. However, the bargains that can be found here are worth the hassle- stylish cardigans, tops and dresses at a fraction of the cost in the UK ( even cheaper than Primark!).  Safe to say shopping in China is a far cry from your average high- street experience.

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  • Gaj

    I’m a huge fan of chinese and asian clothing. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to visit there too, the way things are going who know I may have to get a job there. Many of the chines are just so cool with there appearance would love to see more of your Chinese fashion experience.