End of an Icon? Fashion Lady to Close for Complete Renovation

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End of an Icon? Fashion Lady to Close for Renovation
A taste of things to come; a proposed design for the all new Fashion Lady. Image courtesy 南京商业荟

Since 2005, Fashion Lady, in Chinese known as “Laidi Plaza”, located in the centre of Xinjiekou, has long been known as that most “in” hangout in downtown Nanjing, a central place for youngsters. Now, after 14 years, however, even the colour of the statue of Spiderman on the glass wall has faded away.

Just as well then, that Fashion Lady is about to be refurbished completely.

For its unique decoration and creative architecture, young people, who forever pursue new, stylish and modern products, have always gathered in Fashion Lady; a sign that identifies one as being, well, “fashionable”. Nothing lasts forever, however, which may be just as well. Fashion Lady will shut up for 3 months, from June of this year.

The core of Nanjing’s Xinjiekou commercial area comprises nearly 700 shops and 30 large and medium-sized enterprises, occupying more than 10,000 square metres. While everything around has changed beyond all recognition since 2005, Fashion Lady remains its heart and soul.

And walking into it is like stepping into a new colourful world.

Fashion Lady, targeting young costumers under 30 years old, has always been competitive when compared to other shopping malls. There are cool lights everywhere; on the floor, wall and ceiling; a true giveaway as to its unruly atmosphere. In this integrated, lifestyle centre, one can find every imaginable service; photography, nail art, photo stickers, stamp customisation, make-up, etc.

Yet, Fashion Lady is just as well known for that which cannot be found, namely well-known brands of clothing. With the majority of stalls privately owned, the cheap prices on offer are chief attraction for shoppers, who largely consist of college students around 20 years old. “Even with the attack of online shopping, Fashion Lady is always crowded with people”, an accessory stall owner told The Nanjinger.

Fang Jie, a college student said, “Fashion Lady’s stuff is reasonably priced, making it economic affordable for us, and it’s fashionable. It’s really my dish!”

Today however, even its many advantages cannot match the trendy new taste of today’s Nanjingers. Fashion, it appears, has given way to problems. The aisles within Fashion Lady are so narrow it forces shoppers to wait in line at weekends. The crowds and a poor ventilation system also make the air stagnant, to say the least.

The upcoming renovation also means that a bucket loads of stalls will close up shop for good. A stamp and sticker customisation stall almost as old as Fashion Lady itself is to shut down. The owner told the Nanjinger, “Most of the stalls are about to leave; it is like moving home as we have stayed here for more than 10 years”.

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Kristen Wang
A Nanjing local, Kristen Wang has a Masters in Media and Public relations from Newcastle University (UK), has researched social media and online publishing and previously worked for different new media platforms. She is passionate about discovering new stories and helping expats involved in this city. 南京人Kristen获得纽卡斯尔大学,媒体与公共关系硕士学位。她的研究专注于社交媒体和网络发行,在不同的新媒体平台工作。她喜欢发现新鲜事,也希望帮助在南京的外国人融入这里的生活。