Today (despite being kinda sick) i went out to the Zoo Market to do some research and interview some folks about this massive 8 story market that has some of the cheapest clothes in Beijing, but also is considered pretty fashionable.
The work was a bit hard since the goods are pretty much all of questionable origin, so most people were shying away from interviews and pix, and def wouldn't give me a name.
But anyhow, I rather dig the place. Lots of young people, girls who apply mascara and eyeliner for people who forgot their glasses, and tons of clothing that's not exactly what you or i call "fashionable." Lots of loud colours, buttons, frills, and bad English. Pretentious it's not.
Xidan Market used to be more like this place, but Xidan caught up with contemporary fashion annoyingly fast. It was a lot more interesting before Uniqlo and H&M influenced everything over there. Places like the Zoo Market are from a slightly different frame of reality, which is great. To me it's quintessential China.