shopping shanghai IT

A few weeks ago I hit up neighboring Shanghai for some research, and it was my first trip there. What I discovered was that although it is a fairly close 2.5 hrs. from Tokyo, I was in for a world of difference.

I was especially interested in the shopping experience, and in a city where every luxury and white-bread chain brand alike have a presence here just because it’s the cool thing to do, I figured that if I wanted to truly get to the fashionable heart of the Shanghaiese I would need to peruse the select shops instead.

The first shop I went to was called “Alter” and it is lodged into the side of the humongous Xintiandi Style mall, much like RESTIR is at Midtown. In fact, I would liken it to RESTIR because this place is oozing so much chic it’s going to bleed to death.


The first thing you will notice is the incredible architecture, which I correctly guessed to have been inspired by Escher drawings immediately upon laying my eyes on the all of the stairs. A huge staircase is the centerpiece and it replaces a regular floor, inviting customers to climb up it and go wayward, getting lost in the selection of items. I was especially fond of the mannequins scattered everywhere, including the walls and ceiling. Even the fitting rooms (below) are a perception-bending experience.


alter in shanghai

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misha walking in alter

sass and bide at alterinterior of alterlifestyle at alter

necklace at alteranthony moynihan and sonja long of alter

The owner is Sonja Long, a China-born and bred and Florence-educated woman who opened the store a year ago. Still in her 20s, Sonja is the face of a new breed of young savvy entrepreneurs in Shanghai. Here she is pictured with the Shanghai-based Anthony Moynihan, the shop’s personal stylist. He helped me pick out the juicy Sass and Bide outfit I tried on.

The next shop I headed straight to was Vanitas. Owner and buyer Rigel Davis was about 21 years old(!!) when she opened it several years ago. She has a really strong following on the Internet with a style blog, and often sells her wares to fans who like what they see on her.

オーナーはSonja Long、中国で生まれ育ち、フィレンツェで大学を通ったそう。ちょうど1年前にお店をオープンしたの。20代にして、Sonjaは上海の若手実業家としての顔も持っている。これは、お店のパーソナルスタイリストでもあるスタイリストのAnthony Moynihanと彼女の写真。彼は私が試着したSass&Bideのコーディネートを選ぶのを手伝ってくれた♥
次に行ったお店は「Vanitas」。オーナー兼バイヤーのRigel Davisはなんと21歳(!)の時にお店をオープンしたそう。彼女はスタイルブログにも熱心で、彼女の着こなすアイテムをファンにブログ上で売ったりもしている

rigel davis of vanitas

Rigel came to Shanghai via Florida, and uses her international background to push an American urban, edgy style. Looking through her shop I got a London-ish vibe, although her best sellers are Helmut Lang and Acne. Vanitas has another outlet in Taiwan, and she is already ready to expand to a different Shanghai location.

Rigelは10歳までフロリダで暮らしてたという中国の帰国子女。インターナショナルなバックグランドをもつ彼女はアメリカン・アーバンなエッジースタイルをプッシュしている。彼女のお店を見ていると、ロンドンチックな雰囲気を感じたわ。けれど、ベストセラーはHelmut Lang と Acneだそう。Vanitasは台湾にも店舗があって、彼女は今後上海の別の地区にも店舗を拡大する予定。

bracelets in vanitas

london style at vanitasthshirts at vanitas

vanitas tag

It seemed to me that in Shanghai, if you were a fashion-conscious woman you were either in the “cute” ViVi style crowd (Japanese akamoji magazines have been in china for decades now) or a Paris Vogue “Rick Owens” crowd. There were no “underground” street style shops or hidden gems to stumble upon like in Tokyo. In fact, I ran into the first (and perhaps only) true vintage shop in the city, “William the beekeeper” on my final day there.

上海にいて感じたんだけど、上海のファッショニスタには二つの派に分かれているの。一つは“キュートな”ViVi派(日本の赤文字雑誌は何十年も中国で販売されている)。またVOGUEパリのような“リック・オウエンス”派。東京のように、“アンダーグラウンド”でストリートスタイル的なお店や偶然見つけることの出来る隠された宝石のようなお店は無かったな。実際に初めて(そしてきっと唯一の本物の)のヴィンテージ屋さんの「William the beekeeper」に出会えたのは再終日、出発の直前だった。

william the beekeeper

william the beekeeper inside
william the beekeeper honey

So what about Japanese brands?
Yes, this was on my mind, and I kept my eye out for them. Unfortunately, neither Alter nor Vanitas carried any fashion from Japan, and only the big ones like comme des garçons and BAPE had much recognizability with people in the in-crowd.

Of course there was one select shop called The Gloss which actually had a selection of Japanese brands not in the grips of I.T., like Fugahum and Cherie. I wanted to hear about how these brands were picked up, but unfortunately Ben, the buyer, was on a business trip when I was in town so didn’t get to ask him about it.

けど、「The Gloss」という日本のブランドを置いているショップを見つけることが出来たの。フガハムやCherieなど、I.T.が構えていないナイスなセレクト!バイヤーのベンがたまたまビジネス出張のため、町にいなかったから直接お話を聞けなかったのが残念。

the gloss shanghai

Then there was this. A mysterious looking shop called “by” that opened in the Xintiandi mall near Alter, just days before I arrived. Sonja told me it was all Japanese menswear so I ventured inside to check it out. It was….amazing to be sure! Crystal, mirrors and gilded fixings blanketed the cavernous shop. And on the racks were the cream of the Tokyo menswear crop…. <Lad musician, John Lawrence Sullivan, the viridi Anne, Julius, factotum, etc>.

The shop guys were so new, they didn’t even have shop cards and had no clue on any background about their shop or it’s wares. I’m guessing it is run by I.T., only because there were *too* many pieces and they all looked the same. But the shop visuals were beautiful and exciting…like the giant chairs that might evoke an “Alex in Wonderland” image.

そして次のショップへ向かった。そこは、ミステリアスな雰囲気の「by」。私が上海に到着する数日前に、新天地モールのAlterのすぐ近くにオープンしたお店。Sonjaが、置いてあるものは全て日本のメンズウエアだと教えてくれたから、実際にチェックしに足を踏み入れたの。すっごく・・アメージングだった!クリスタル、鏡と金箔が洞窟のようなお店の中にちりばめられていたの。そしてラックには東京のメンズウエアが満載・・Lad Musician, John Lawrence Sullivan, The Viridi Anne, Julius, Factotum, などなど。

by in shanghai

 Thats not to say I didn’t do any shopping- although this is where sent my time and reminbi…at cupcake shops and cafes in the French Concession.^^


cupcakes awfully chocolateshanghai at night


Tokyo Fashion Diaries by Japan Fashion blogger misha janette | ファッションブロガーのミーシャジャネットの東京ファッションダイアリー