A Hipster's Guide To Shanghai Souvenirs
Tired of giving souvenirs that lay around on bookshelves collecting dust? Here are 5 souvenirs that do away with kitsch and are unique to Shanghai — plus, your friends at home might actually use them on the daily.
1. Feiyue Shoes
As ubiquitous in Shanghai as Chuck Taylors are in the West, these sneakers are an original Shanghai brand, born in the 1920s as a martial arts shoe. Now they’re equally popular in Shaolin monasteries and international skate scenes.
The best place in Shanghai to get your hands on some Feiyues is at Culture Matters which carries a diverse range of designs to empty out your wallet for.
2. Pinyin Press
This local brand prints illustrations of retro Chinese icons like street bikes, noodles and steamed buns on textiles, and has also branched out into ceramics. Get the charming “Lucky Cat” pattern on mugs, plates and coasters, or get Mahjong tile cuff-links.
Our favourites are the adorable ceramic xiaolongbao, with the signature folds of the classic soup dumpling, available as paperweights or salt and pepper shakers. Check here to see where to buy them.
3. Mao Period Paraphernalia
The Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre in the heart of the former French Concession houses unique retro images and modern paraphernalia from China done with an artsy flair. You can find everything from kitschy Cultural Revolution propaganda posters to Mao Period paintings to even Christmas ornaments! And if you’re in the market for some very unique provincial antique pieces of furniture and decoration, you can find that here as well. They even clothes, jewelry, accessories and cute baby clothes, too.
4. Idle Beats Screen Prints
For your wall art loving friends, Idle Beats is a Shanghai original shop for screen prints, mostly inspired by modern city life on a background of acid dystopian dreams. Each print is limited edition, but the basement studio has open hours where you can visit, attend workshops, and shop. Check the location and open hours here.
5. Shanghai Code Vintage Sunglasses
Tianzifang has become a coveted tourist shopping and dining destination, and in the crooked lanes lay many nooks with secret treasures. Inside the small room of Shanghai Code are locally-sourced vintage sunglasses galore. On the rare, high end, they have Chinese models from the first half of the 20th century with real glass lenses in retro cool frames.
Find them down the lane at 274 Taikang Road.
6. Anything and Everything at the Fake Market
The fake market is THE place you should go for cheap and cheerful (and sometimes absurd) gifts to bring back home. The most popular one is AP Plaza located right inside the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum metro stop off Line 2 - yes, it’s inside the metro. Inside you find pretty much anything you could and would ever want, plus more. Clothes, bags, shoes, glasses, toys, you name it, they got it! But take note before going that haggling is a must when at the fake market. Usually you can get everything for half the price (or less!) of what they’re asking.