As stated before, One of the things I love about my job is the access it gives me to the world, This makes for great shopping! There is one place above all that I get excited about for the pleasures of this indulgent hobby. There is a place that feels me with so much happiness on the flight over, I smile even more than usually for the whole 12 hour flight (I know I did not think that was possible.) On this flight I was filled to the brim with excitement for arriving that I could not even sleep on crew rest!
What was it giving me such a thrill you ask?
I know it sounds simple but if you’re ever in China taking a trip to a fabric market is one of the most exciting and overwhelming things you can do.
Now some may question that this seems a little far fetch that something so simple can be responsible for so much pleasure. Let me expand.
As you approach the building of the South Bund Soft-Spinning Material Market, you at first seem a little disappointed and wonder if you have actually come to the right place. A taxi will drop you off on a corner underneath a bridge. As soon as you step out of the car and before your feet touch the ground street sellers with jewellery and interesting local food will start calling at you ‘try for you’ or ‘special price for you.’ Take a look behind them up towards the sky. You will see a monstrosity of a glass concrete building that looks it was approved by a 1970s local british council; the beauty lies within.
Step inside and you have 4 floors of possibilities with rainbows of colours and every type of silk, cotton, linen, chiffon, and wools beyond your imagination. You will find luxurious blends of cashmere wool with the finest blends and the softest brushed cotton. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I enter this place of wonder. First of all, I am blinded by the array of colours and patterns. I smile with all my body at all the possibilities of the new creation for my wardrobe. I spend over an hour just sensing fabrics and searching for the one fabric that speaks to me, lures me in.
I can easily get carried away here and spend hours in a mountain of fabrics as each one ignites all my senses. I have to make a decision about which two garments I am going to create. I have to limit myself to two pieces each time otherwise I will get carried away. Today it was a beautiful spring coat and a cute blouse, I wanted to find a smooth fine silk blend for my spring coat and a light blue chiffon for my blouse. I struck gold when I was searching on the second floor and came across a beautiful light purple in a silk cotton blend that felt like the finest feathers when draped across my skin. My heart was racing and I felt giddy with excitement as I imagined the finished garment. The same stall had the perfect blue chiffon and was so finely woven it was fit queen.
I haggled with the lady for a while over price. Sketched my ideas; Tape measure out; Shook on a deal.
Skipping out of the building, feeling like the 5-year-old child who had just spent her pocket-money in the sweet shop, back into the smog that is Shanghai.