Some of you may already be aware of this if you follow me on instagram but last month I went to China! It’s a trip Hayden and I had planned for a long time and it really was an incredible trip – when can I go back?!
We visited Beijing, Xian, Wudang, Wuhan and Shanghai, and naturally I wanted to do some fabric shopping whilst I was away. Being aware of the luggage/weight restrictions on our flights, I knew I’d be a little limited about how much I could bring home, and I actually ended up only buying 4 pieces (and I plan on doing a brief post about those someone worry!). I do have buyers regret about 2 fabrics I didn’t buy though. Maybe I should go back…
We only visited 2 fabric shops in Beijing. I hadn’t done any research about fabric shops in the capital city because I didn’t want to turn the trip into a fabric buying trip, but we did stumble across 2 by accident. The first one is near Qianmen Commercial Street, just near Qianmen Gate. It had a sign saying ‘Silk King’, but ,Chinese censorship being what it is, I unfortunately can’t give you more information! It wasn’t far off the beaten track and they had a good range of both traditional style and modern silks. I found 2 really beautiful floral prints and bought a metre of each, with 1 in mind for me and 1 in mind as a gift for my mum. I paid about £25 for a metre of each, which I know is a lot for silk even back home, but then how often do you get to actually buy silk in China?!
The other shop we stumbled across was the Rui Fu Xiang Silk & Cotton Shop on Wangfujing. This is a big pedestrianised shopping street with some big name brands, but though a slightly inconspicuous doorway is a large fabric shop. I didn’t pick up anything here but it’s nice to rummage.
My lovely friend Megan from Pigeon Wishes had told me there was a really good fabric market in Wuhan so I hit google and found this really great post about it. I should point out, however, that this post was written about 4 years ago and the street has definitely changed – only a few seamstresses and tailors remain on the street itself but the indoor fabric market is definitely still there! This market covers 2 floors and sells predominantly dressmaking and suiting fabrics. I only picked up a couple of metre of a cotton print from Wuhan. I think it was 60 yuan, which works out to be about £6.75. I know you’re supposed to haggle but I’m afraid I paid the asking price – in my defence, it was so cheap that it seemed a bit greedy to get it cheaper!
When researching things to do on our trip, Hayden had actually found out there was a fabric market in Shanghai called the Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market. Now the confusing bit about this market is that it is in 2 buildings (or there are 2 fabric markets over the road from each other – either way it’s amazing). When you walk from the metro station, which is only 5 minutes round the corner, the smaller of the 2 buildings is closest to you – there is only 1 floor in this one although there are signs for an upper floor and escalators but this doesn’t really exist! Prices here were also cheap – I got a beautiful traditional-ish Chinese floral print on a grey crepe that was about £3.36 per metre (30 yuan) and an incredible sequin tulle net that was the ludicrously cheap price of £2.24 per metre (20 yuan) that I could not resist. Once I had a full bag we crossed the road to the other market. This one is 3 glorious stories of fabric and seamstresses and tailors clamouring for business and is definitely worth a visit. I though the prices in here were marginally more expensive but definitely still cheap! I didn’t pick up anything in here but Hayden picked up a gorgeous cotton double gauze.
I think next time I might take a spare empty suitcase next time…