The record summer heat left Shanghai's famed Tianzifang, an alley usually crowded with tourists and sightseers during the weekend, nearly deserted on a recent scorching day.
But in a three-storey industrial- style loft building tucked deep in one of the alleys, the heat gave way to something more serious than shopping.
It was the first luxury-appraisal class held in the city. The three-hour course, held on a Saturday afternoon when temperatures crossed 40 deg C, was organised by Fashiontrenddigest.com, a Chinese fashion-industry trade journal. It charged 200 yuan (S$40) a person for an "elementary- level" course to distinguish authentic luxury products from fakes.
"The first day that enrolment was announced, the class was filled," said Mr Ye Qizheng, the site's co-founder and editor-in-chief.
The original plan was to admit about 20 people, a number he said usually took weeks to achieve for earlier courses, such as fashion-trend prediction.
But for the luxury-appraisal class, more than 40 people called and e-mailed from "all over China" on the first day, forcing Mr Ye and his team to take the notice off their site.
Ms Yang Yijing, a 28-year-old course participant, said: "I browsed 50 pages of Google searches to find a course like this. I was thrilled to learn (that there was) one in Shanghai."
Ms Yang, the daughter of a wealthy car dealer, said she had wanted to do business involving second-hand luxury goods after returning from Milan, Italy, where she finished graduate studies in luxury management last year.