Pawnstar: Shanghai Vintage and Secondhand Shop

The top Shanghai vintage and secondhand shop, Pawnstar, just came out with some new fliers:

Pawnstar Shanghai French Concession Vintage Shop Consignment Shop shanghai vintage Pawnstar: Shanghai Vintage and Secondhand Shop 693200470

Our message to Chinese customers is that people have way too much stuff, so there is no reason to buy something brand new especially when you consider the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Instead of paying retail every time or just wearing something that is overly recognizable since it is from the latest season, women (and men) should consider shopping on consignment. At the moment, we are more-or-less the major option that is available as the Shanghai vintage and secondhand store par excellence.

We want people to give up that urge – that pressure – to always be seen in the latest trend and start incorporating vintage accessories with designer pieces that may be a season or two old. Hey, for people who really will only wear the latest trend and wear it just once, please just bring those items to us!

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On Yanie Durocher

Shanghai fashion blogger Yanie Durocher appears in Marie Claire Italia wearing an item purchased at Pawnstar  yanie durocher On Yanie Durocher 1964943939

Above, Fashion Blogger Yanie Durocher wears an item she found at Pawnstar’s shop in the Clement Apartments, the heart of Shanghai’s French Concession.

The ever-style Yanie Durocher’s shoot and interview with Marie Claire Italia (in Italian) that happened on her last trip to Milan. See the companion piece on her blog, The Marginalist, here, Yanie as Fashionista in the Shanghai edition of City Weekend, an interview on That’s Shanghaiher PR Agency, and here is the piece that she wrote on

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Pawnstar QR Code

Shanghai Shopping French Concession Vintage Secondhand Pawnstar Pawnstar Pawnstar QR Code QR Code with the Clement
Scan this Wechat QR Code to add the Pawnstar customer service account, which also provides access to our full product range – from vintage to secondhand designer labels to unique up-cycled items.

Pawnstar, a really unique Shanghai shopping experience, can be enjoyed well beyond our shop in the French Concession!


Pawnstar’s Chinese Name

The name Pawnstar is quite well-known around Shanghai at this point, so we may be stuck with it. I find it rather cute and I don’t think it’s seediness is problematic. What concerns me much more is that there is a famous show from the US with the same name. This obviously is detrimental when it comes to google search results. Most of you probably don’t know our Chinese name.

The Chinese name for Pawnstar is quite clever. The person who came up with it, Mr. Li Xuesong, is an extremely successful entrepreneur based in Beijing. He founded Flamingo, a conglomerate in the realm of real estate marketing or thereabouts. Dangpu (荡铺) is a homonym for the word that means Pawnshop (当铺). Pu just means storefront, but Dang (荡) is a tough word to translate. Probably the easiest way of thinking of it is as “swing”, I’m told. We created the concept of 荡铺 by combined Dang (荡) with the word for store and the result is a concept something along the lines of an adult store but it sounds like the word for Pawnshop. You see, a bit like Pornstar and Pawnstar.

As I’m sure anyone who has dealt with China and its language will know, homonyms are omnipresent. Our end-of-year user’s choice competition used one of the two characters as its name. We proclaimed 2017 the Year of the Chick, in anticipation of the Chinese New Year. Ji (姬) , an archaic word for concubine or high-end, and inevitably very talented, courtesan, is a homonym for Ji (鸡) or chicken or rooster.

Happy New Year’s from Pawnstar

Here is a Happy New Year message from the founder of Pawnstar:

Dear Friends,

People will remember 2016 – mostly because it was so bizarre. For Pawnstar, it was also a memorable year. Our founding was in 2015, but 2016 saw us become an entity that is a bit more substantial. Most of our customers and consigners came to us over the last year, we brought together a wonderful team of staff, we joined with young designers to create an exciting upcycling program, and we opened a physical location in the Clement Apartments in Shanghai’s Former French Concession that was just named TimeOut’s New Shop of the Year. We also laid the groundwork for exciting partnerships that we hope will make 2017 the year in which Pawnstar and the concept of secondhand fashion in China start to go bigger.

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Interview on Digital China Podcast

Pawnstar founder Jane Jia was interviewed by Simon Young on the Episode 2 of the Digital China Podcast, which is a new project that serves as a supplement to Young’s marketing agency and The Red Circle, which is a sort of network for people doing business in China.  Jane introduces the project and the space at the Clement deep in the Former French Concession, which Young describes as “one of the most beautiful places around.”

Jane explains the development of secondhand in China from the days of her youth when items were always passed between neighbors and friends, through the era of obsession with the shiniest and newest, down to the present when hip youngsters are once again interested in pre-loved fashion. Jane’s piece of advise to foreign brands entering the China  market is “You are popular back home for a reason. Stick to your brand identity and do what they are best at.  Don’t give up your core values.”

She also tells the charming story of how she started getting customers by writing poetry on her wechat and that these are still her most loyal customers.  She says her favorite brands are Hermès and Mandarin Oriental, because both are “family-owned brands that do what they want to do and it comes from the heart”.

New Shop of Year

And here is the link to the piece on Pawnstar becoming Time Out New Shop of the Year. This was a great honor and we are hoping more people in Shanghai realize that we are the destination for secondhand fashion, vintage, etc. for the French Concession and beyond.

New Shop of the Year: Pawnstar

1639393427 Pawnstar New Shop of the Year: Pawnstar 1639393427

Just last night, Pawnstar won the “New Shop of the Year” award for 2016 at an award ceremony held at Kathleen’s Waitan.  We were not expecting this, but here it is: TimeOut – which does have very good distribution – thinks we are the best new shop this year in Shanghai, a city of nearly 30 million souls.  There may have glossier, more high concept shops opening, but clearly we are the one that is a bit different from what has come before here.  I don’t think anyone has really done the consignment concept before and the ruggedness – the bohemian sensibility that we have – seems quite different from the typical offerings here.

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Pawnstar Man

192049184  Pawnstar Man 192049184

For over a year, Pawnstar has been going strong as a wechat platform and now as a store in the French Concession’s Clement Apartments. Over 95% of our customers are women.  Perhaps secondhand works does work better for women. They don’t like to wear the same thing twice, so it makes sense to swap outfits very frequently. Closets aren’t big enough. Men have traditionally preferred to invest in items they have their whole life and they should be applauded for this. Nonetheless, we believe there is a market for secondhand menswear in China and there are even fewer players in this realm than there are in the area of women’s clothing.

We are starting with the above personal wechat account, Pawnstar Man, much as we did for womenswear. We will start this way, but there is talk of starting a permanent space, perhaps also in the Clement Apartments. Men do tend to like places where they can come and hangout. Perhaps we will make this something of a bar or hangout spot.

October Pawnstar Style Shoots

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The weather has really been wonderful recently. A trip now to Shanghai might very well change all those notions you had about haze and humidity. The sky is brilliant blue and the air is crisp without being cold. Shanghai Fashion Week really has picked the best time of year to host its events. You can see the schedules for Shanghai Fashion Week here.

Pawnstar has quite a bit planned for Shanghai Fashion Week, but right now we are enjoying the good Fall weather by going outside around our shop and doing some photo shoots.

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The three models are Jane, Lotta, and Ian. Good to have some frolicking before before the busy Shanghai Fashion Week schedule gets going (Pawnstar will be participating in MODE Shanghai Fashion Trade Show). Click to see more.

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