Taikang Road is one of the most popular streets for shopping and relaxation in Shanghai. Although tourists make up the majority of customers, there are actually a lot of hidden treasures within Tianzifang, making it well worth the squeeze. From ethnic goods to clothing stores and toy shops, Taikang Rd has plenty for the discerning shopper to discover. The maze-like alleyways may be difficult to navigate, but the arty ambience and relaxed vibe of the place make it part of the fun.
Ethnic Chinese Folk Hand-embroidered Silver Gift Shop
Guizhou native Long Mingzhou and his wife decided to open this small shop in the back alleys of Taikang Road to promote their culture and continue the embroidery and silversmith traditions that the Miao ethnic in Guizhou Province have long been known for. The jewelry sold here is all made by Long, whose father-in-law is also a skilled silversmith, while his wife does the embroidery work. Everything in the shop is handmade, and the range includes a wide selection of goods - from traditional clothes to cushion covers, to embroidery that can be hung as decorations. Clothes range from 3,000 (US$471) to 6,000 yuan, and some of the pieces were actually included in the owners' marriage dowries. Handmade shoes and child carriers are also on sale. Jewelry prices can reach up to the thousands of yuan, depending on size and quality. The strong ethnic flavor of the shop and the quality of the goods gives shoppers an excellent opportunity to learn more firsthand about the traditional culture of the Miao ethnic, and engage in some retail therapy at the same time.
Opening hours: 9am-9pm
Address: No. 26, Lane 274, Taikang Rd
Teelocker catches your eye the moment you enter the shop, with an array of quirky and colorful T-shirts and other items on display in every nook and cranny. It prides itself as being a community for people passionate about tees and design, and aspiring designers can log onto the Teelocker website (www.teelocker.com) and submit designs. An international team of designers selects those they deem outstanding, and these are made into T-shirts and sold in the store. Chosen designers receive a design fee and are admitted to a bonus scheme. The bright and cheerful store sells a variety of funky products, from tees to bags, shoes, accessories and even undergarments. T-shirt sizes start from children's unisex tees for eight-year-olds, and there are T-shirts for both sexes. T-shirts are priced from 128 yuan, while cardigans are around 160 yuan for women. With more than 100 graphics and styles to choose from, everyone should find something to suit them.
Opening hours: 10am-9:30pm
Address: No. 19, Lane 248, Taikang Rd
Da Jie (Link Shanghai)
Da Jie (Link Shanghai) is all about creativity, said the owners, setting it apart from more touristy neighbors. Opened in 2010, the shop is a local brand promoting independent creative workers. Da Jie (Link Shanghai) is a cooperative of young and ambitious artists and designers, and showcases their work. Most of the products take their inspiration from the wealth of cultural elements found in the city, such as the Shanghai-style postcards (15 to 25 yuan). One of the designers, Andy Wang, who specializes in illustration and print, has created a series of postcards inspired by different cuisines offered by different cultures. His witty Chinese series "The Hiding-in-the-Wrong-Place Club" is available at Link Shanghai. The shop also features a selection of designer T-shirts and silk screen prints by three Chinese artists, with price ranging from 1,000 to more than 5,000 yuan.
Opening hours: 10:30am-9pm
Address: No. 5, Lane 248, Taikang Rd
Heartfull Friends was created to give customers the feeling of a warm, romantic and loving atmosphere, said its owners. Its entire range of products is designed by Japanese artist Hiroshi Watanabe, whose graphics feature on everything from paper, postcards and greeting cards to puzzles and mouse pads available in Heartfull Friends. The graphics are extremely cute, with Watanabe's signature cartoon animals depicted in a light, fluffy style, giving off an almost dreamy feeling. Watanabe's two most famous designs are a white bunny with an oversized head and huge ears, and a polar bear with a large body and tiny head. These two designs are also available in the form of small toys that make ideal cute presents for friends or family. Postcards and cards range from 8 to 25 yuan at Heartfull Friends, with bags from 68 to 598 yuan for limited editions. Framed prints start from 850 yuan, while a painting can cost anything up to 20,000 yuan.