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While "Made in China" might not be the best earmark, a bevy of local brands are disproving the stereotype and providing 'pers with something better to take home than just a few cheap souvenirs. While the list below is far from exclusive, it gives a glimpse into the vast shopping opportunities that the city provides for those looking for more than just chopsticks and fans to take home with them.
This gem of a store opened in 2001 providing range of unique antique furniture, gifts, clothing and accessories as well as a large collection of original Cultural Revolution propaganda posters and photographs from the 1950's, 60's and 70's. Showcasing both in-house designs as well as collections from other artists and designers, the store is packed with old and new alike. Look for an original “little red book” or some unique enamelware.
Feiyue, which translates into “traverse” or “flying over”, is a shoe brand that it got its start in Shanghai in the 1920's. Then known as DaFu, the company manufactured lightweight athletic shoes that became popular in the 1930's amongst kungfu fighters. Rumor has it that nearly 80% of kungfu masters still use Feiyue's martial arts shoes for their daily training. But you don't need to be practicing your Qixing Quan to don a pair of these kicks, they're equally great for a taking a stroll through the city.
While we're used to most of the items we wear carrying the “made in China” label, Xinlelu launched in the Spring of 2012 to offer an online shopping experience for products that were not just made in China, but designed here as well. Bringing the “quaint lane and hidden studio” shopping experience to your computer screen, xinlelu.com offers a selection of clothes, shoes and accessories curated from up and coming labels in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. Their aim is to offer “well made, individual pieces at an accessible price”. But don't worry, you don't have to fire up your laptop just to get in on the action, they've opened a small boutique in the heart of the city so you can try before you buy.
A company with a cause, Shokay set about in 2006 to help Tibetan yak herders increase their income by harvesting the down from their yaks. Hand spun and dyed by a group of artisans on Chongming Island outside of Shanghai, Shokay turns this undervalued fiber into luxurious lifestyle products. From scarves and wraps to throws and children's toys their products are not only exquisitely made but as soft as they come. Bring home a piece of the country in its most elegant form and know that you're investing in more than just a blanket.
Instead of returning with just a few snapshots from your trip, why not take home a new (or antique) camera? China's largest and oldest camera manufacturer, Seagull, became popular around the globe back in the 1960's. Based in Shanghai, the brand has come full-circle and is redefining its presence in the local market. Nonetheless, you can still track down a vintage Seagull-4 twin lens reflex, modeled after the Rolleiflex. Some of the nameplates even bear the “Made in Shanghai” label. Now that's a true memento.
Shanghai is a shopping mecca, from tailor-made silk qipaos to the latest in electronics. The team at China Highlights can tailor your Shanghai experience to make sure you're able to shop until you drop without missing the best of the city in between. Some shopping can be built into any of our Shanghai tours.