The Wukang Mansion, formerly called the Normandie Apartments, is probably one of the most recognizable buildings of Shanghai’s French Concession. Built to commemorate the Normandie, a World War I-era battleship, the building is supposed to look like a ship and it seems to sail triumphantly toward drivers approaching down Huaihai Road from the West. When the building was completed around 1924, this would have been near the very Western edge of the city – practically in the suburbs.
The French Concession is one of the only neighborhoods in China that blends old and new. It is the 1% of the Shanghai metropolitan region that is not part of the seemingly never-ending sea of 100 meter tall modern housing blocks. Here is more about it. This post will be the first in a series that shows photos of the neighborhood around Pawnstar’s shop in the Clement Apartments.
Above are the Astrid Apartments, by Russian architect Alexander I. Yaron, and completed in 1934. This eight story art deco materpiece is on the corner of Maoming Road & Nanchang Road (more photos on this Shanghai Art Deco Site).
Upcycled ties become tiaras at Pawnstar with designer Shen Tian! Click below for more photos.
Photo by Shen Tian
Pawnstar’s in-house designer for upcycling projects, Shen Tian, took this photo. It could have been on a mood board for some of the work that she creates.
Time Out Shanghai asked me to come up with the trends for Spring 2017 that I like and don’t like:
Here are “like”:
1. Volume will…continue to be big in Spring 2017 with the rejection of skintight jeans and super slim reaching the mainstream and even convincing men to return to pleats and more billowy styles such as slouchy trousers, that are more comfortable in hot weather anyway.
2. Rejecting the new global realities, the resurgence of activism and punk will gain steam as girls become bad girls, as seen from the Mark Jacobs show to the ample British punk references and a predominance of rippedness, mixed messages, and bondage and such.
3. Men will continue to become more dapper on the streets of Shanghai and Beijing as the multiple benefits of seeming well put together are discovered, the proliferation of local bespoke tailors achieve more and more success and the benefits of technology and social media for customization are utilized.
The designer who does Pawnstar flyers likes to turn everything into a cyclops – well, not the horse.
The Beijing girl on the left is wearing an upcycled leather jacket purchased at Pawnstar. She started a high-end wedding custom wedding dress brand but seems to like something a bit more casual for herself.
Here is the designer of Pawnstar’s upcycling collection, Nisa, nearby her home in Changbaishan, Liaoning province. She was home for the holidays but says she would never consider living there because the people tend to be a bit rude and she doesn’t like skiing that much anyway. There is, however, a Park Hyatt in Changbaishan.
Upcycling is a big deal at Pawnstar. There is now a dedicated workshop on the second floor of our showroom at the Clement Apartments. You can see more creations here.
We just received the print version of the coverage of Pawnstar from TimeOut Beijing. You can see the digital copy here.
There is still no Primark Shanghai. Thank God!
I recently had occasion to visit Primark Boston. I had heard horror stories about Primark for years but this was the first time I got to experience it firsthand.
The nearly 8,000 square meter Primark right at Downtown Crossing, which opened in November 2015 was the first US outpost of the Irish disposable fashion emporium, but it has already been joined with locations at mold throughout the East Coast and there will soon be locations in Brooklyn as well as other parts of Boston. Londoners often gush that Primark makes you not really have to think twice about a purchase because the prices are low to the point of being almost comical. It really does cost more to ride the tube, not to mention going to the pub, in London than to buy an item at Primark. Shops like this offer a salve for the egos of people who otherwise have trouble a lot of trouble affording their lives. You can’t afford nice restaurants let alone a proper home in a location you want or – in the case of the US – even health or education, but you can dress in the latest styles and obtain a new possession pretty much whenever you want. There needs to be a Primark Shanghai for the everyday person to be as stylish as a Londoner.
The French Concession’s leading secondhand consignment shop and one of the most interesting Shanghai shopping destinations of any kind, Pawnstar just got a major feature in TimeOut Beijing. We shot some photos around the neighborhood with our model, Quinn, who has also walked runways for Chanel and other major fashion brands. You can see some of those images up-close here.
Click more to see the feature in some detail.
A Pawnstar customer from Shanghai in a dress she purchased with her teddy bears.
Here’s another Pawnstar customer on vacation. Everyone will have to get back to work soon – finally – I guess. This Beijing resident had an amusing reaction to our project: “Why is everything so cheap here?” Needless to say, people in China are highly sensitive to anything that could be a counterfeit or inferior good of any kind. They are highly attuned to this and seeing us selling luxury and high fashion brands and so far below retail price is often a big shock for people. It seems too good to be true. Then we explain that items are secondhand and most people start to get it.
This independent designer based between China and New Zealand – who shops regularly at Pawnstar – is wearing a very unique top with a traditional Chinese-style print.