Less hectic than either Qipu Lu or the Science and Technology Museum markets, the South Bund Fabric Market (Nán Wàitān Qīngfǎng Miànliào Shìchǎng, 南外滩轻纺面料市场) is situated in the old city within walking distance (30 mins) of Yu Garden.
You'll find souvenirs, especially Tibetan jewelry, and a few other market products besides, but the main attractions are the myriad of fabrics for sale and tailoring services.
Simply take some time to browse all the materials on offer and then, if you can, describe the way you'd like your clothes made. It helps to have an example of something that fits you well on hand, and a good Chinese language ability, but most stalls have fashion guides and textile palletes to make things easier.
Although there is always room for some bargaining, many stalls will offer you good prices right from the outset, and many will deliver to your address. Expect to wait ten days to two weeks for finished products, although that can be expedited with a little extra cash. Make sure to try the item on and check everything about it carefully to make sure it fits properly and is completely finished. You can get a good, tailor-made outfit at a very reasonable rate, but being careful goes a long way.
Once you're done, keep exploring the old city by wandering north down the well-trafficked lanes to see plenty of other market areas serving as centers of economic, and often, social life, as they did 75 years ago and more.
By walking north and then east, you can also get to the Cool Docks in about 20 minutes.
Find it on the Shanghai Markets Map.
Photo © jwalsh
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