We bundled up for a cold afternoon out at TianZiFang (田子坊), the supposed art enclave in Shanghai. I was keen to see the olden architecture and though refurbished, this area offers a fair bit of sight-seeing on this front.
I very much prefer the shopping at TianZiFang than the madness at QiPuLu (七浦路), which comprises of adjoining buildings which are like fire-hazards. Walking through the multi-levels of tiny stores selling all sorts of stuff and badly-made fakes with no style or quality, is NOT shopping. It's a warzone where people elbow and shove you all the time, making it a harrowing experience.
At Tianzifang, you get pushed around less. One might call it a tourist trap, but isn't entirely so. There're many unique pieces here and the boutiques are almost quirky. There were cute-sy stuff, kitschy and garish items which induced shudders. But they added to the colors and fun vibe of the area. I had some shops in mind and came away with buys from Plastered 8, Pill Art and Teelocker.
I can't be fussed with tailoring clothes. I can fit into most of the off-the-rack cheongsams with minor alterations which wouldn't take more than an hour to complete. I like the dresses in a number of the boutiques, which are traditional Chinese cheongsams, tops and jackets crafted in a modern minimalist design. The eye-popping prices almost match the craftmanship. If you can pick out the good fabric and wool from the rest, there're excellent buys here.