“I’m So soPHIsticated…”

Last Sunday, Shanel Tage, Chai Lu and I decided to go checkout the fabric market. Because it was our first time going there, Fuji (the program director) decided to take us. We rode the bus for about 25 minutes in Shanghai’s orderly chaotic traffic and finally made it there [safe]. I might just make a whole blog post describing the streets here. It’s really crazy, and that’s coming from someone who lived in a 3rd world, traffic-light-and-cop-less country.

The fabric market is a three story building filled with all kinds of fabric, as you would expect it to be considering its name. However, what stands out the most is the business clothing. There were suits everywhere, and of all kinds: business, business casual, tuxedos, casual, flashy, extravagant, tasteless- you name it, they had it. While the ladies decided to get qipaos (traditional Chinese dress), I started scoping the suit makers. They all started at 600, which is about $90 and includes both the jacket and the pants. A giveaway right? But the African in me had to bargain. I approached a young lady who seemed to be my age. I told her I was just looking, and not purchasing anything. That was a lie but I knew that if I told her I wasn’t purchasing anything, but “let” her convince me to purchase something, she would automatically have to give me a better price. So I started looking more interested: I examined the plethora of fabrics available, compared colors and I flipped trough the catalogues that they were displaying. These catalogues were a compilation of models wearing western suits: Yves Saint Laurent, Zara, H&M, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole… the list goes on.

Then finally she said what I was long waiting for her to say:

–       This style look very good on you, you must get it!

–       I don’t know… I didn’t plan on buying anything today. Will you give me a good price?

–       Yes! Yes! Of course!

–       How much then?

–       500!

–       No, 300.

–       No I can’t because I have to pay for taylor and fabric. 500 best price I can sell you.

–       I’m young like you. I’m only a student: I can’t afford 500. Give me 300.

–       No, I’m sorry.

–       Okay 350?

–       Okay for you, you are very handsome: 450 best price!

–       I’m handsome? Thank you. Be my girlfriend and give it to me for free! How old are you?

–       *laughed out loud* I’m 23 but I can’t be your girlfriend.

–       *sad face* you’re mean! Okay at least give me 400!

–       *smiled* okay okay 400 but you bring your friends to me if they want suits!

–       Okay!


I picked them up today (a week later) and they look amazing… granted my charm does the bulk of the work but still. I got:

–       A black suit with a golden interior (pants included)

–       A grey suit with a baby blue interior (pants included)

–       A tan jacket with golden lining and brown pants

–       A beige trenchcoat with a Burberry interior

–       A black suit winter coat with a blue-sky interior


I got got all this for a total of 1200 Yuan, which is about $333. In America, I paid $400 for my Banana Republic jacket only (no pants included). The suits I just got fit me perfectly and look better than my Banana Republic suit. One of the many reasons why I’m loving Shanghai…