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I’ve looked at many city guides before I go on trips and the reason why I don’t purchase any of them is because I can’t seem to find the right things in one book. Lonely Planet has a good section on travel advice while Fodor’s has a great restaurant guide. I need something design-conscious. Phaidon *Wallpaper City Guides seem to be the perfect answer if I ever need to travel to a city I’ve never been to. I always loved the city guides in *Wallpaper magazine. The city guide provides must-see places to go, best places to stay, what to do in 24 hours, urban life, architecture and of course shopping. If you like Wallpaper, these city guides are a must for the next trip to a metropolitan.

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The Thing, Shanghai

September 6, 2006

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Accidentally ran into this really interesting store called The Thing at No 266 Changle Road in Shanghai. They offer a variety of streetwear clothing made by various local Shanghaiese artists. Most tshirts are graphic/silkscreen based and I must admit their designs are pretty cool. They play around with the tshirts and the limitless of the medium. Reminds me a lot of the stores of Shirtflag but differentiate themselves from being a lot less political. I was going to pick a shirt myself but I don’t think I could without getting mobbed. (The place was busy as hell when I checked it out) Be sure to check The Thing out if you’re in the Shanghai area. Sorry, wasn’t able to take photos of their designs. Apparently they frown upon taking photos of their products 😦 I guess they’re worried of people stealing their ideas. (Which is what I wanted to do ..haha)

Shirtflag

August 24, 2006

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Walking aimlessly on the streets of Shanghai, I must have spotted at least 3 or 4 Shirtflag stores. Shirtflag provides graphics and designs which take a retrospective look at Chinese propaganda art and mixes it with modern cultural icons and pop culture references (basically satirizes the Maoist era of China). Reminds me a lot of the store, Fill in the _____s store in Central, Hong Kong. Kind of suprised to see a store like this in mainland China but more power to them! Their products include their ever popular t-shirt designs, bags, buttons as well as stationary. The brand Shirtflag is very popular in Shanghai. Currently there are 6 Shirtflag stores in the greater area of Shanghai. Don’t be suprised if you see any of these stores expanding into cities like Beijing or Hong Kong. Apparently, their clothing will soon be available in Europe as retailers in the continent are ready to market their clothing. Click below to see some of the designs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bar Rouge, Shanghai

August 23, 2006

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Bar Rouge is one of the hottest spots in Shanghai. Right smack in the historic Bund district in Shanghai. Its chic, its classy, its elegent. The musics banging and so are the women. Ah, the women..if only I wasn’t short..damn genetics..haha. The design of the place and the interiors are second to none. It’s layout is terrific in terms of sitting, lounging and if you’re in the mood, theres plenty of room to dance. The crowds mainly in the range of late 20s to middle aged 50 (felt kinda out of place) but regardless of how old you are, it’s still one of the coolest places to grab a drink in Shanghai. Suprisingly, drinks aren’t quite that expensive as I thought. I believe a beer was only 50 rmb. Be sure to check out if you’re in Shanghai. The view of the Pudong skyline from patio area is priceless.

For more photos (only managed to take 2 good photos), follow the link below:
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Just updated the list of things I checked out when in Shanghai. I was supposed to finish the post yesterday but got lazy and lost momentum. Ha! Will eventually post profiles of Shanghai streetwear stores such as ‘The Thing’, ‘Shirtflag’ , as well as the very chic club ‘Bar Rouge’. Also, I’ll put together some photos of my trip to Shanghai.

Shanghai : My Kind Of Town

August 22, 2006

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Having been there back in 2002 for only 3 days, I didn’t really have a good sense of the vibrant city. It was gritty, the people were rude, things are really badly disorganized. Okay, these things still definitely exist but one can notice the large differences made to the city. I’m not just talking about the infrastructure or the skyscrapers that weren’t dwarfing in the skyline a couple of years ago. I’m talking about the emerging culture that existed in the hearts of the Shanghaiese people but suppressed by the communist government for so many years.

I had the chance to see a lot of things I wouldn’t be able to see if I had visited with my family. Walking the many streets (I’m tired as hell) and several alleyways, you’d be suprised at what you might end up seeing. The city is completly vibrant and the balance between its commerce, its history and its culture/lifestyle are very evident.

Some of the areas I checked out were:

Xintiandi, where a batch of renovated houses offers everything from fine dining to chic nightclubs. The streets of Changde Le road as many youth streetwear boutiques are located, which rivals to Toronto’s Queen street. The newly renovated district of Haifang Road, where many new restaurants and clubs are being built. “Elite Club” from the Elite Modeling Agency is about to be finished. It’s a safe bet it’s going to be one of the hot spots in terms of where to party. The art district of Taikang where many artists and designers showcase their work. You also have the famous Bund which maintains the history of Shanghai pre-communism colonial period. However, many buildings have been respectfully renovated into hip new spots for nightlife and restaurants (particularly the places at Bund 18).

And it’s what I love about Shanghai. Their modernization to the city while maintaining the integrity of their history and culture. It has a great balance between the East and the West, between old and new, between traditional and modern. While many might disagree for those who live in Hong Kong, Shanghai has 2 things that Hong Kong doesn’t have. It’s culture. I’m not saying Hong Kong doesn’t have culture but their identity seems to be more leaning towards a commercial culture that I tend to hate. Everything revolves around buying and consuming particularly the art. Sorry, everyone knows I got love for Hong Kong but the lack of its culture and art scene makes me compare the city as a machine.

Shanghai also has class. Now, don’t get me wrong because its definitely not the most polite city in the world but there’s something about the people that separates the people in Hong Kong. I don’t really know how to explain it but their style and class is uncanning to how it is in Hong Kong. There’s nothing better than listening to jazz/big band music while eating Shanghaiese food. That alone won me over as a city. I love the style and the character Shanghai brings and although I doubt I’ll ever live or move there in the near future, its definitely a city I’d love to visit whenever I get the chance to.

Places you might want to check out when in Shanghai:

Shanghai Restaurant (Name unknown)
House 13 No 537 Haifang Road
Restaurant

Great restaurant, serves traditional Shanghaiese food. Traditional decor, plays jazz/big band music in the background. Historic ambience. Home of a wealthy Shanghaiese man, renovated into a restaurant. Soft opening just recently. Grand opening date unknown.

Elite Club
No 536 Haifang Road
Club

Opening very soon. Will definitely be a hotspot. Owned by the people of Elite Modeling Agency. Places for models to go when travelling to Shanghai.

Shirtflag
6 locations in the Shanghai Area (Check out the one on No. 27 Duo Lun Rd.)
Streetwear store

Click here for my thoughts of Shirtflag.

Club Shanghai
Luwan District
Club

Crowds old, utterly dead on a Friday but it gives a bit of nostalgia to the Old Shanghai in the 30s. The live big band is decent and the glitsy interior gives potential to this exclusive Hong Kong-run club. In my opinion, it’ll be really cool if they attract a younger crowd to the luxury spot.

Captain Hostel / Captain Club

37 Fuzhou Lu
Hostel/Club

Suprisingly not everything in the Bund is expensive. The view alone is worth going up. This hostel is smack in the middle of the Bund. It also provides a spectular view of the Pudong skyline especially when its a hostel. With hostel prices and a rooftop view at the bar, it’s a bargain considering what’s around the area.

Bar Rouge
At Bund 18
Club

Apparently one of the best bars/clubs in Shanghai right now. It’s chic, it’s cool, its on the Bund. Best view in Shanghai, overlooking Pudong skyline. Definitely one of the most popular places to party. The interiors are great. More mature crowd though. Didn’t quite fit in. Ages vary from 27-60. Drinks are moderate priced.

Click here for my thoughts of Bar Rouge.

Guandii
Fuxing Park, 2 Gaolan Lu
Club

It’s simple, it’s straightforward. Nothing pretagious about what it is. It’s a great crowd. Young, a lot of Ex-pats and Overseas Chinese. Reminds me a lot of Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong but better. The music was pretty cool (sometimes you just need meaningless ‘let’s get drunk off our ass and dance’ rap music). I heard a couple of repeats but sometimes you just gotta let some shit slide, you know?

The Thing
No 266 Changle Road
Streetwear Store

Click here for my thoughts of The Thing.

Babyface
180 Maoming Lu
Club

Like Guandii, it’s a younger crowd. Club seperated by 2 rooms, 1 playing dance music, the other playing rap and mainstream hip hop. Many ex-pats, overseas Chinese go to this spot but majority of people are made up by local Shanghaiese. There might be the occasional prostitute around so beware. Ahem, I won’t get into that haha! Club suprisingly busy on a Sunday night. Interiors are terrific. Coolest washroom I’ve seen in Shanghai.

Sorry, I wish I had taken photos but it’s a pain in the ass to carry around my 5 pound camera.