shop talk: Urban Tribe 城市山民

this is the first in a series of new posts - my own version of Cintra Wilson's 'critical shopper' in Shanghai. i had posted about Urban Tribe on my blog two years ago when i first discovered it, and when i dropped by this time, i was happy to find that they have expanded their collection of mens and womenswear, accessories, and housewares.

the aesthetic is urban nomad, with a little bit of Rick Owens-esque details thrown in for dramatic flair. the owner/designer is Shanghainese, so all the clothes are produced locally, some handcrafted, and in small batches. does it all work, you ask? quite well, especially if you're like me and prefer to be comfortably chic no matter the day or season. colors are mostly muted, and many of the pieces manage to be slightly avant-garde while still remaining versatile enough to be incorporated into your existing wardrobe. i especially love UT's dedication to using natural fabrics - as many of you know, i am a bit of a stickler for natural materials. there are gauzy linen blouses with slim mandarin collars that would go well with a skinny black pant and ballet flats. i tried on a billowy indigo linen patchwork skirt that was reminiscent of the all-american denim skirt, except that its artful draping made me feel like a carefree runaway from a Junya Watanabe show - a good thing!

images via urban tribe

prices are on the high end, ranging between ¥550-¥1,800 for many of the items, but certainly reasonable given the prices of many French Concession design-conscious boutiques. clients can get a VIP card which gets you discounts for purchasing one or more items. the shop also has a small but burgeoning jewelry collection made from natural stones and silver, and in the back there is a section devoted to small housewares and ceramics - a great place to shop for gifts too! there is also a small garden area where you can sip a cup of tea and take a peaceful break from the din of Shanghai.

Urban Tribe 城市山民
133号 Fuxing West Road
Xuhui district (French Concession), Shanghai, China


  1. Lovely first boutique critique! I'm looking forward to more! I think this is what I would look for when traveling ... it's so difficult to know where the hidden gems are when I'm only in a place for a short time.

    Also, what's the general aesthetic in the city?

  2. I love the long blue skirt they show in the Mirror collection. Of course, I also loved Kenzo, and I see some resemblance. Of course I find myself wishing you could sent up an ordering capability here, through Paypal, and ship us this stuff:). High WASPs love authentic gear from the far away lands.

  3. @LPC that is certainly not out of the question, if you're interested shoot me an email at my contact box and we can discuss in more detail! :)

  4. @Jocy thanks for the sweet comment, Jocy! :) more to come for sure. and re: your question - i can do a whole post on that...and will soon! :)

  5. I'm in love with that beautiful two-tone skirt! Comfortably chic is how I would describe it too.


  6. I love reading "Critcal Shopper", thanks for doing this one and would love to see more (but no pressure :)) The style at Urban Tribe isn't too me but those ceramic dishes and tea sets!

  7. This shop sounds awesome -- it's always so nice when boutiques carry housewares in addition to clothes. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series! :)

  8. The china in the last photo reminds me of snowy white mushrooms speckled with earth brown. I agree with lin, the clothes don't speak to me but the garden sipping tea idea sounds lovely!

  9. @lin definitely more to come, and no pressure ;) i wouldn't mind taking home a set of the gorgeous tea cups. i think i may get them as a gift for a recently married friend.

  10. @Rachel i know - i love the way they merchandized and designed the space. it's really a peaceful place nestled in the heart of the old french concession!


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