City where re­tail ther­apy is tai­lor- made

The daz­zling shop­ping scene in Shen­zhen is not for the faint­hearted. Hay­ley Bolton at­tempts to mas­ter the art of hag­gling, and gets tai­lored in China’s most up- and- com­ing city

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - SHOPAHOLIC CHINA -

THINK you could give Re­becca Bloom­wood a run for her money in Con­fes­sions of a Shopa­holic? Even this credit-card-hoard­ing crazy red­head would be over­whelmed by what’s on of­fer in Shen­zhen.

It may be south­ern China’s ma­jor fi­nance hub, but Shen­zhen is rapidly be­com­ing fa­mous for its dirt-cheap shop­ping. Shen­zhen’s shop­ping scene is like no other, and mas­ter­ing the art should be wor­thy of a re­ward. It can be daunt­ing for first-timers and is of­ten stress­ful, but shop­ping in Shen­zhen can also be great fun.

If you don’t have long, Shen­zhen’s one-stop shop­ping des­ti­na­tion is Lowu Com­mer­cial City, which is right be­side the main train sta­tion, near Hong Kong’s border. You will know you are in the right place be­cause the sales­peo­ple will be at your side be­fore you are even through the doors. Luowu and Luoho are spell­ing vari­a­tions of Lowu, and are used in­ter­change­ably, but they all re­fer to the same place.

Don’t get to Lowu any­time be­fore 10am, be­cause noth­ing is open and there are no cafes to have a cof­fee in while you wait. But once the doors open, it is ev­ery shop­per for them­selves. Don’t ex­pect any peace or quiet un­til you are back in your ho­tel room with the door firmly shut.

More than 1500 shops over five lev­els make Lowu a full two-day job – at least. If you want tailor­ing done, which is rea­son enough alone to visit Shen­zhen, you may want to al­low longer. Swarms of sales as­sis­tants will be try­ing to sell you their prod­uct, from DVDs to Prada hand­bags and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

If you even glance at some­thing in a shop win­dow you can ex­pect to be chased up and down es­ca­la­tors to a tir­ing chant of, ‘‘ Missy Missy, spe­cial price for you, to­day only’’.

If you plan to ‘‘ get tai­lored’’ in Lowu – and I rec­om­mend you do – make it your pri­or­ity. The more time you al­low for fit­tings and al­ter­ations, the more likely you are to walk away with some­thing you will like. The tai­lors in Shen­zhen are amaz­ing.

If you have pants or dresses that are a per­fect fit, bring them from home for the tai­lor to copy as this will guar­an­tee good re­sults. If you want some­thing made from scratch, find a tai­lor who has sim­i­lar de­signs in their win­dows to what you are af­ter. Ask­ing a tai­lor who spe­cialises in suit jack­ets to cre­ate an ori­en­tal Chi­nese gown could eas­ily end in dis­as­ter, and vice versa.

I had a pair of pants made at one tai­lor, which I still was not happy with af­ter two days of al­ter­ations, de­spite be­ing made from a pair I had brought from home. But I did pay $ 39 in­stead of the $ 180 I had paid for the orig­i­nal pair at home.

I or­dered a cash­mere jacket to be made from scratch at an­other tai­lor who promised a 12-hour turn­around.

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