Our guide to the best denim and vintage shopping in Shanghai.

China might not be the first-stop for denim in the far east, but as the region sees a casualisation of dress codes outside of luxury stalwarts, there has been a growing appetite for jeanswear that has led to some of the world’s biggest names investing in the country’s tier-one cities.

As China’s style capital, Shanghai is home to a giant 26 million population of insatiable shopping addicts—and the fashion landscape is primed to cater to their favourite pastime. This bustling metropolis, known as the “Paris of the East” has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, with the luxury brands you are already familiar with as well as a growing list of specialist boutiques and local brands. A strong denim scene has been growing all in Shanghai over the last few years and a visit to this incredible city will not disappoint.

But it’s a tough place to explore without some serious help; Google, Facebook, Instagram and basically any Western platform is only accessible if you download and pay for a slow-moving VPN. Oh and a lot of brands only have a presence on China-specific platforms such as Wechat or Webo or their address info in Chinese. We have relied on the kindness of local denimheads to show us the ropes in the past and so we reached out to our favourite Shanghai Dudette, Pam Hong for her local indigo haunts.

Frank’s Store

If you’re a fan of raw denim, there’s a must-visit mecca you’ll need on your list: Frank Store is located on the pretty Julu Road in Huangpu. The dark wood, cavernous space also houses a pretty impressive raw denim wall for all your instagram needs.

Pam: “You’ll know this store as previously Take 5. It’s the most classic Amekaji store in Shanghai with all the Japanese quality denim you can think of; Osaka 5, the Flat Head, Sugarcane, etc. But the store has been changing over the past few years too, starting to carry softer brands like Porter Classic, Soulive, Nigel Cabourn and Haversack. Their recent pop-up with Gogogo explores camping and outdoors gear and is well worth a look too”

1F NO.1 Lane 393 Julu Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China

Element

Pam: “Element is a clothing and lifestyle store housed in a traditional Shanghai Villa where you get to experience the interesting contrast of old and new. They carry a variety of brands covering urban outdoors, denim and indigo, contemporary and lots of great lifestyle products like stationary, fragrance, etc. Be on the lookout for a new three floor flagship store which will officially open this September 28th!”

Yuyuan Road Lane 718, No 21, Shanghai, China

Beautiful Concept

If you’re into the purist denim scene then chances are you are also into great coffee. So a visit to Beautiful Concept coffee shop in the hip Yongkang area of Shanghai will tick all your boxes. The owners started up their own raw denim brand a few years back and sell their jeans alongside their own branded coffee and coldbrew on location. The space is small, intimate and impeccably designed. As any denimhead will know, its all the details and these guys have every detail covered. Not to be missed!

YongKang Road 25, Shanghai, China

Denham

Earlier this year, Chinese fashion group Trendy Group announced that it acquired a majority stake in Dutch company Denham Group, the parent company of denim label Denham the Jeanmaker. The acquisition reflects the brand’s greater strategic commitment to expansion in the Asia region. To date, the joint venture has introduced 16 retail stores in key cities in China and has plans to further grow the business in the coming years. The Shanghai store, located within the new HKRI Taikoo Hui Mall boasts an impressive 160 square metres which combines a clean, gallery-like aesthetic with authentic character and décor. The furniture is imported from Europe, including recycled and salvaged pieces like sewing machines, vintage lamps and trolleys reworked into tables. The store also offers a hand-wash laundry service and a custom sewing area where Denham jeans can be hemmed, maintained and repaired for life.

Times Square, 99 Huai Hai Zhong Road, Shanghai

Industrial

Pam: “This is a store with a mix of workwear and elevated gentleman style. Alongside the menswear though, they have started to carry women’s collections from Nigel Cabourn, Old Joe and W’Menswear. If you’re a girl looking for quality workwear, military of gentleman inspired outfits then you’re in luck, they have plenty!”

Julu Road Lane 741 No. 1, Shanghai, China

DOE

Its been nearly three years since DOE opened its inaugural space at Tong Ren Lu in Shanghai and now the company has added a second store just a few miles from the first. Designed by architect Shuhei Aoyama, the store reflects DOE’s mix of traditional and modern inspirations. Most of the wooden interior is rooted in Shanghainese culture and DOE expects its second space to become a “new scene” in the city. One addition that helped the store become a hot-spot is the coffee bar, which provides refreshments as shoppers browse for products.

L-109 No.168 Hubin Rd, Shanghai, China

No. 3975 Vintage

Pam: “If you’re into real vintage with a Military Focus, this is probably the best shop you can find in China. They stock a wide range of clothing, accessories, furniture, homeware, old tools and so many weird and wonderful things that can’t be categorised. The owner will get really excited if you ask him the stories behind the things that he sells 😉 “

Shaoxing Road Lane 25, No. 1, Shanghai, China

R.G.F

One of Denim Dudes’ favourite places to visit, this store/ cafe/ treasure trove located not too far from Frank Store is an instagrammer’s haven. The ground floor is a cosy mix of sudo-antiquities, furniture and homewares but a stroll to the back of the store reveals a light, bright jungle of a cafe with an outdoor courtyard and greenhouse. Upstairs its a whole different scene with an extension of the cafe as well as a beautiful Scandinavian lifestyle store selling designs from Normann Copenhagen, Zone Denmark and Klong Interior. Basically, at least an hour of your day can be lost in this store!

Julu Road No. 405, Shanghai, China

Lane Crawford

A bit like a cross between a Selfridges and a Dover Street Market, Lane Crawford is arguably China’s coolest department store. With the right mix of luxury regulars and cutting edge talent, a trip here will give you a one stop glimpse at all the expected designer names as well as a few new discoveries. At 150,000 square feet and over 4 floors, this Shanghai flagship is the company’s largest store in China. Expect to see everything from 3.1 Phillip Lim, Sacai and Acne through to local names like Feng Chen Wang.

Level 1-4, 99 Huai Hai Zhong Road, Shanghai