World's Best Bargain Shopping

by Colleen Clark

(Faux) Designer Accessories, Shanghai

Designer knockoffs are so ubiquitous in Chinese cities these days that foreign tourists are more likely to be greeted with cries of "Prada, Gucci!" than "Ni hao." The latest must-haves from Chloé, Miu Miu, and Marc Jacobs barely seem to make it down the runway before they're copied and sold in markets like Yatai Xinyang (also known as the "fake market") in Shanghai. Though quality varies widely, you can find some pretty spot-on rip-offs that might easily pass muster back home. But beware, bargaining starts at close to what the real deal would cost and dissolves into a high-stress exchange that makes used-car salesmen seem gentle. Smile while spitting counteroffers and carry a calculator so as not to stumble over exchange rates. Better still, skip the faux bag fracas and opt for more interesting knockoffs like eyeglasses. The Sanye Wholesale Market of Eyeglasses, located beneath Shanghai's main train station, sells imitation designer frames with prescription lenses for less than $25. You'll still have to bargain, and bargain hard, but the return on this investment far outweighs that of a pleather Louis Vuitton bag.

Yatai Xinyang
Science and Technology Museum Metro Stop (Metro Line 2)

Sanye Wholesale Market of Eyeglasses
Shanghai Railway Station

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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