Back Lake is a Beijing scenic spot well-known from foreign tourists. Close to it, a hutong (traditional alleyway) named Nanluogu Lane (ÄÏÂà¹ÄÏï) received numerous hutong fans every day. At the north corner of Nanluogu Lane, a casual wear shop attracts customers by its unusual name: ¡°Metamorphosis¡± (ÍÉ±ä).
I decided to have a look inside when I eyeballed several pairs of jeans through the glass door. Soon after I entered, the shop owner greeted me and inquired what kind of casual wear I needed. Mini Play Apparel is the only brand offered in the shop. It manufactures its goods in Guangzhou (Canton).
I looked at the merchandise hung on the walls and on the racks, quickly browsing through the boys¡¯ casual wear section near the entrance, and soon heading to girls¡¯ wear in the back.
The shop selection is mainly comprised of jeans, skirts, shirts, hats, and leather bags. The owner explained her clientele is made up mainly of foreigners and local college students. I picked up a short grey jean-skirt (RMB 208), a style popular among foreign shoppers. With its diagonal zipper line sewed on the front, this skirt looked simple but uncommon.
Besides fashionable jeans, I noticed a light-brown bag made of deerskin, which felt thick but soft. The seams were sewn tightly. According to the shop owner, office ladies like this model, though I found its design rather casual for an office environment. It was offered at RMB 598.
Prices for clothes ranged from RMB 150 to RMB 800, and for items such as hats and bags, from RMB 100 to RMB 600. Although the owner does not bargain, most of the merchandise is sold at a 20% discount.
When our conversation turned to her location, the hospitable lady told me she was fond of this area, and frequently visited by foreign friends who also appreciated the traditional culture of Beijing. The shop employs an assistant who can speak English pretty well.
What I appreciated:
Grey jean-skirt, deerskin bag
What customers appreciate:
High quality, nice and personal service
Thousand-sole children's shoes
Outfit yourself for your next trip outdoors
Tea set, the quintessential Chinese gift
Putting on a "Shadow Play"