Designed to be different

By Zhang Yu Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-12 18:28:01

Get ready for a crafty time at the biannual market organized by online community Zocou at the Shanghai Centre at the end of May. It's a great way to show families and visitors the breadth of Shanghai's creative community.

On May 29, Zocou's signature market will be filled with quirky, handmade, limited edition and hard-to-find products, brought by over 90 designers and craft makers from around the world.

A cushion by French designer Celine Menard; Mama Huhu pillow by Shanghai-based German designer Elke Martini


Mama Huhu pillow by Shanghai-based German designer Elke Martini


Handmade Farm's embroidered hoop

You will be able to find home décor like small lamps, linen bed products, souvenirs like cards and calendars, and handmade accessories including handbags and jewelry.

"These are very small entrepreneurs who are creating their unique designs, mostly handmade or limited-edition products that are not mass produced," Cristina Rueda, the cofounder of Zocou, told the Global Times.

"It is a global fair," Rueda said, noting that these designers come from countries and regions all over the world including the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, South America, the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Most of them are expat designers living in Shanghai, which gives their designs a unique Shanghai touch. Some who live in Hangzhou and Suzhou will come to Shanghai especially for the market.

Notably, check out the booth of Shanghai-based German designer Elke Martini, which will feature her fun pillows with pinyin words printed on them like Mama Huhu (so so), Wei Shen Me (why) and Ting Bu Dong (don't understand). She also designs iPad cases, calendars, prints and postcards with illustrations inspired by old Shanghai.

For families visiting the market, check out the handmade headbands, necklaces and bracelets brought by Handmade Farm, and custom-made furniture including chairs, beanbags, sofas and pillows with a wide range of fabrics and colors from Kiddo's.

Wobabybasics, which offers unique 100 percent organic cotton clothes for infants and children up to 8 years old, will bring the full line of their Spring-Summer 2014 range, including their new organic kids underwear. "These have been really popular with our international clients," the brand's Sherry Poon told the Global Times.

designer Celine Menard at Zocou's Christmas market last year


Zocou's market is held twice a year, once in summer and once in winter. Photos: Courtesy of Zocou

Another must-see is the booth of Estrelitzia, the brand launched in 2009 by Shanghai-based French illustrator and textile designer Celine Menard. Her cute and colorful bags, pouches and cushions, printed with unique, whimsical illustrations by Menard, are the perfect gifts for fun-loving people.

Apart from striking designs, some artists are also bringing food for thought. Netherlands artist Loes Venker, who has been living in Shanghai for three years, is bringing to the market her art-installation that doubles as a shop, The Front Store, which sells unique handmade bag fronts that can be clipped onto any of the fake bags prevalent in Shanghai.

"Nanjing Road is home to the biggest market in Shanghai for fake goods. Why would you buy something cheap that has the appearance of something very expensive, but is in fact of such poor quality that it's not of very much use? The bag covers highlight the owner as an independent fashion lover who dares to choose something for its own sake, instead of for the brand name attached to it," she told the Global Times. Her bag fronts, at 400 ($64.9) to 1,000 yuan, can be a bit pricey for fake bag users though, and she says she draws inspiration from local materials including leather, fur, silk, lace and beads.

Rueda cofounded Zocou in 2012 with her partner Noenne Neergaard, and set up an online marketplace for local designers and craft-makers to showcase and sell their unique products.

Zocou's market is held twice a year, once in summer and once in winter.

Their Christmas market last November, also at the Shanghai Centre, attracted over 5,000 visitors.

Date: 10 am to 3 pm, May 29

Venue: Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Road West

Admission is free

Newspaper headline: Market full of quirky craftsmanship

Posted in: About Town

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