Spotlight: The Olive Shoppe

Achingly hip pop-up showcases indie designs from around the globe

Update: The Olive Shoppe has extended its opening until Sunday 10 June

The Olive Shoppe is that rarest of Shanghai fashion beasts – a bona fide, guerrilla pop-up shop, only open until Sunday 3 June.
Though it started life as a California-based website selling vintage clothing (hence the old-fashioned spelling of ‘shop’), founders Elaine Chao and Stanley Yang gradually expanded the store’s remit to include up-and-coming designers from across the globe, opening a Taobao store before finally being offered a week’s tenure of a former furniture shop on a quiet stretch of Julu Lu.  


Despite an under-the-radar approach to publicity (Weibo and word-of-mouth), Shanghai’s fashionistas have flocked in droves to the treasure-crammed space, and lots of pieces have sold out since the shop got a royal seal of approval by the high priestess of style bloggers, Susie Lau of Style Bubble. Such has been its success that Chao and Yang are planning to take their ‘nomad store’ on a tour round China, taking in Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou.


The clothes on offer range from the knowingly edgy – like something you might see Chloe Sevigny sporting on her day off – to the highly experimental. There’s a strong British presence, which includes dominatrix-inspired, studded leather offerings from Two Weeks (Bitching & Junkfood’s diffusion label), a sheer neon maxi-dress (900RMB) by Three Floor, plus the entire sportswear-with-a-twist spring/summer 2012 collection from Central St Martins graduate and new Marni recruit Kerhao (1,400-5,000RMB; Bubble snapped up his white mesh ‘Sports Day’ jacket on her visit).


The cream of the New York design crop is also well represented: Chromat - the brainchild of two former architects - whose heavily structural ‘experiments’ for the body, such as cage-like corsets and bralets, have been sported by the likes of Nicki Minaj; Brooklyn-based Mary Meyer’s slouchy jersey separates and Dilan Walpola’s fierce metal knuckle-dusters in the shape of bird claws (1,400RMB).


We also like Taiwanese designer Heavy Machinery’s chunky colour-block heels in patent leather, and the skull- and skeleton-print T-shirts by Finnish designer Daniel Palillo. It’s not all pricey designer offerings - towards the back of the space, there’s a small rail of vintage offerings like denim shirts and floral-print trousers (200-600RMB), while a pair of tattoo-print tights from cult Japanese brand Proef go for 350RMB and quirky notebooks inspired by poker playing cards are 100RMB each.


Olive Shoppe 812 Julu Lu near Fumin Lu. Open 1-9pm daily until Sunday 10 June.