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Mystery Shopping: Star Place Outlets

Stores with no signs that sell big-name labels for cut down prices... Fashion show of the best finds from our month-long hunt inside.
2013-04-12 12:24:26
Star Place is a chain of outlet stores that sells a random mishmash of clothing, accessories and handbags. There is no actual shopfront—no display sign, no names. A lot of their stuff is actually pretty awful, but if you sift through enough of it, there's some great brand name clothing to be found. The labels for these pieces have been hacked away at or taken off altogether because names like Topshop, Zara, Banana Republic, Pinko or J. Crew aren't meant to be stuffed into a harshly lit, unglamorous stockpile of fashion odds and ends. But they are. Evidence below:

Zara sweater, 150rmb and Stradivarius shorts, 110rmb

Look around long enough within this bounty of crap and it’s possible to find some excellent deals on clothing that you’re probably buying elsewhere for a lot more money. We’ve even found some stuff that isn’t currently available in the Chinese retail market, like clothes from Primark department stores in the UK. Sometimes the actual brand remains a mystery when all the labels and tags are lopped off, but you can still tell that it's a quality item—like this dress we found at one of their locations:

No-label asymmetrical dress, 140rmb

Other times, you might even find convincing knock-offs of higher-end brands. A lot of these have a generic "Star Place" label that is shoddily sewed on. This one looks an awful lot like Missoni, no?

Missoni-esque dress, 330rmb

And here’s an H&M top paired with an American Apparel-looking skirt that came without any labels:

White top, 75rmb and black miniskirt, 100rmb

Most of the other clothes at Star Place are likely designed locally, made by designers and tailors who cater to Chinese fashion tastes. You’ll likely go through a dozen rows of distressed jeans and tanks that look like they were lovingly crafted by a seamstress relative of Edward Scissorhands. Even then, there’s still some good stuff. We found a tribal print summer dress that required a bit of DIY cleanup (just snipping off some terrible lace trimmings, really). Here’s what an open mind and some easy scissor work can do:

Generic label summer dress, 120rmb

And once in awhile, they come just right, like this little black dress—aka the “LBD”.

Generic label LBD, 85rmb

There are over a dozen locations throughout the city, but some of our favorites are at: Xinle Lu, Fuxing Zhong Lu and Baoqing Lu. For more locations, click here.

Remember though, the bulk of the clothes at Star Place does not look like this. We’re just showing you what you can get with a little patience and diligence. It took months of trips to several branches for us to collect the clothing pieces shown above, so it’s just as likely that you can ransack the entire place and still walk out without having found a single good thing. In any case, happy hunting.


Photography by Brandon McGhee. Model: Momo