Miles of Fabric As Sydney's Closet Visits Chinese City of Shaoxing
The Fashion Team spends the day in the ancient Chinese City of Shaoxing, home to Asia’s legendary Textile City. We’re on the hunt for new fabrics that will inspire the designs for our Fall 2012 Signature Cocktail Collection and our 2013 Signature Prom Collection. But where to start? Our senses are overwhelmed by the miles of open stalls, each about the size of a small bedroom, that sprawl over multi-story buildings on both sides of the river. We calculate that if we put the 15,000 fabric suppliers here under one roof it would be big enough to fill 15 Wal-Marts!
Our translator guides us through the maze to our first stop where we discover a new chiffon that is super soft and comes in yummy colors. It’s perfect for draping a formal evening gown. We make a note to create a dramatic beading pattern for a one-shoulder strap. We climb an ancient stone stairway where shoe shine vendors cluster at the top next to the street vendors roasting chestnuts in a commercial size wok.
There we take the foot bridge across the river where waves of lotus plants float past us. Over the next five hours we wander through the market stopping when an eye catches an interesting fabric. We struggle to find a lace worthy of an informal wedding dress. We carry a shopping bag that soon fills with fabric swatches:
- tulle flocked with tiny dots sure to make a Cinderella-style ball gown for a Prom Princess
- dramatic black and white floral prints in chiffon great for making a splash on a maxi dress
- sequins sewn in silver, black and blue chevron print ideal for a red-carpet formal