Shanghai Fabric Market: What Is Friend Price?

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The Shanghai Fabric Market Travel Advice is part of the Tahiti Triumph Trip Report. It covers the following cities:

See the Picture Preview here and see how this $60,000 trip cost $1999 here. Be sure to check out TPOL’s Map, the best feature of the blog.


Location: The South Bund Fabric Market is located at 399 Lujiabang Lu. All the hotels and taxi drivers know it.


TPOL is the best bargainer. Period.

That’s the attitude you need when you enter the fabric market at Liujiabang Lu. There’s nothing more fun than spending a Saturday afternoon picking out shirts, suits, and button combinations. Sometimes the suits end up looking like something from Star Trek. Other times you end up with clothes that look better than anything that can be purchased at ten or even twenty times the price at Saks Fifth Avenue.

The first key to surviving the fabric market is to have a list of what you need ahead of time. The second key is to know what the 朋友 (friend) price is before you begin bargaining. Finally, and most importantly, it is critical to find a tailor that you know and trust. Personally, I’ve been going to the guy since 2009 and have had no complaints. It’s been six years since the last time that I had returned and evidently costs had risen since the last time I had went. Or had they?

Speaking a little Chinese and trading some good laughs, I ended up paying the same thing I did all those years ago. Back then 100 RMB was around $14 and now 100 RMB is $15 so I should say I paid the same amount in renminbi.

The booth that I go to is No. 261 and the secret prices that I get are as follows:

  • Suit: 500 RMB
  • Cashmere Coat: 600 RMB
  • Shirt: 100 RMB
  • Suitcase: 130 RMB (top quality)

Then after all is calculated I try to get a few more RMB knocked off of the final price. Am I cheap, competitive, or compulsive? That’s a discussion for another post. In the end, I walked away with 5 suits, 1 winter coat, and 20 shirts. The best part is they all fit perfectly the first time and there were no duds in the group. I shook shifu’s hand and told him I would be back next year for more. For a complete list of other prices for goods bargained abroad see the post: Bargaining Abroad, I Lost the Battle. 

2016-05-03 15.14.56
Hey pretty lady you want dress, scarf?
2016-05-03 15.15.05
Lujiabang lu
Shifu's Store #261
Shifu’s Store #261
You're going to like the way you look...(I don't think this is trademarked anymore)
You’re going to like the way you look…(I don’t think this is trademarked anymore)

13 COMMENTS

  1. I studied in Shanghai in 2006 and have been back ~15 times since. Your arrogance about how well you ‘think’ you know how to navigate the fabric market is very funny. And speaking in the third person makes it even better.

  2. I do! And when I was there, my whole
    Class got suits for 300 rmb. And we were luckily able to speak in the first person. I guess everyone is not that lucky.

    • 2006 is a decade ago. If you can get 300 RMB suits now then hats off to you. TPOL is not mad at you. See what I did there?

    • You mad bro? It was slightly entertaining at first but I would like to keep it dignified. Have a good night

  3. Wow, lot of hate here….as someone who enjoys haggling for everything in Asia, I found it interesting, and better than just the usual shower on a plane piece.

    • Thanks Paul! The comments come with the territory I guess. It reminds me of Seinfeld’s heckler episode. Imagine I show up to their work and start telling them how awful they are haa.

      Since I changed my website, I decided to take on a more all inclusive approach to writing which includes a lot more Travel Advice and Travel Guide stuff. Those don’t always get the big hits but I find it more enjoyable than writing about the same shower flight (though those can be fun if I put a twist on them).

      Thanks for reading.

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