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Top 10 Unique Shanghai Shops
2010-09-09 10:00

It's easy to get tired of the Chinese kitsch in the markets and street stalls, while enticing, how many pashminas and silk pajamas can one person have? Even after you've bought Christmas presents for your family for the next three years, you might feel unfulfilled in your shopping endeavors in Shanghai. You may still be looking for that something-special, something not just any tourist to Shanghai would pick up. Rest easy, stop by any one of these unique stores and find items that no one else back home will have, and all will covet. What more could you ask of a souvenir?

1) Shirt Flag

Description: Original t-shirts, bags, hats, bits and bobs.

Address: 1) 330 Nanchang Road, between Shanxi Nan Road and Maoming Road; 2) Room 8, No. 7, Lane 210 Taikang Road

Opening hours: daily 1) 11am-10:30pm; 2) 10am-10pm

Comments: Retro-Cultural-Revolution chic casual wear. Raised fists and red stars dominate. No bargaining but you might get a free giftie if you buy several items. Check out the ultra-cool paper-boy satchels.
2) Harvest Studio

Description: Hand-embroidered clothing and soft-furnishings by Miao tribeswomen.

Address: Room 118, No. 3, Lane 210 Taikang Road

Opening hours: daily 9am-6pm

Comments: The Miao tribe is famous for their intricate embroidery and hand-crafted silver ornaments that decorate their traditional dress-clothing that may take a woman many years to complete. The store helps support the ancient tradition; you'll likely see a few of the beautiful long-haired Miao women busily embroidering as you browse their collection.

3) Shanghai Trio

Description: A small silk bag for every need.

Address: 1) Unit 5, House 1, North Block, Xintiandi, Lane 181 Taicang Road; 2) Workshop/Showroom at No. 6, Lane 37 Fuxing Xi Road

Opening hours: 1) daily 10am-10pm; 2) M-F 10am-6pm

Comments: A perfect spot to pick up last minute gifts, Shanghai Trio's designs use traditional cotton and silk fabrics for the modern need such as a cell-phone case or jewelry bag. There's also an adorable line of children's things and funky jewelry.

4) Suzhou Cobblers

Description: Hand-embroidered slippers, bags and hand-knitted children's clothing.

Address: Room 101, No. 17, Fuzhou Road

Opening hours: daily 10am-6:30pm

Comments: I take all my visitors to the Bund and we all stop by Suzhou Cobblers for a few minutes. The boys head across to Three on the Bund for a beer and the girls fall in love with several pairs of gorgeous silk slippers embroidered with whimsical Chinese motifs.

5) No. D Gallery

Description: Art-Deco furniture and retro Chinese home accents

Address: 2F, No. 15, Peninsula Garden, Lane 1518, Xikang Road

Opening hours: T-F 1-7pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8:30pm

Comments: a truly unique break from the warehouses of old (not antique) Chinese furniture, No. D offers art-deco as well as Chinese style furniture and a grand collection of older Chinese accent and curio pieces.
6) Platane

Description: Funky collection of Chinese-inspired gifts and modern soft furnishings.

Address: 127 Yongfu Road, near Fuxing West Road

Opening hours: Open Tue-Sat: 11am-7pm; Sun: 12-5pm

Comments: Platane offers original, hard to find, casual Chinese-inspired porcelain, fun girlie gifts such as hand-made small bags as well as gorgeous leather Australian handbags, Luxe guides and one-of-a-kind home accents.

7) Urban Tribe

Description: Original clothing and jewelry designs, photography and a lovely caf in the back.

Address: 133 Fuxing West Road

Opening hours: daily 9:30am-10pm

Comments: Urban Tribe-ware includes breezy, baggy tops and long skirts of sumptuous cotton, gorgeous large format matted photos in black &white, as well as color, of Tibet, Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia, taken by the owner's husband, a line of unique silver jewelry including darling mobile-phone accessories, as well as a distinctive line of pottery.

8) Madame Mao's Dowry

Description: Everything Mao (memorabilia) as well as porcelain, clothing and soft furnishings.

Address: 207 Fumin Road, near Julu Road

Comments: Dig through piles of black &white photography of China's past, Cultural Revolution propaganda posters and original note cards made with old Chinese ads. There's a line of revolutionary-inspired enamelware with modern slogans that might make your kitchen table rather unique.

9) Spin

Description: Original porcelain for dinner tables or decoration.

Address: 758 Julu Road, Bldg. No. 3 (set back from the street, through the parking lot), near Fumin Road

Opening hours: daily 10am-7pm

Comments: Spin's range of ceramics are designed in Shanghai but created in JingDeZhen, China's ceramics capital. Find distinctive and decorative objects such as platters and vases. Designs have a Japanese flavor, pieces are packaged meticulously in wooden boxes, but are uniquely Chinese. If you're unsure, stop into Shintori, nearby at 803 Julu Road, to see how this fabulous Japanese restaurant uses Spin's porcelain.
10) Shanghai Tang

Description: Luxurious and fabulous collection of Chinese-inspired clothing, home accessories and gifts.

Address: 1) 59 Mao Ming Road (between Huai Hai Zhong Road and Changle Road); 2) 15 Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Tai Cang Road; 3) Shangri-La Hotel, 33 Fu Cheng Road, Pudong.

Opening hours: daily 10am-10pm

Comments: With bargains to be found at so many shops and markets, it's difficult to stomach the price tags at Shanghai Tang. That said, you won't find more beautiful designs, quality gifts and darling kids' things. If there's a special gift you need to bring home from Shanghai, Shanghai Tang is worth a stop.