4 Chinese Streetwear Brands to Check Out in Shanghai

By putting a Chinese twist on streetwear, these brands have attracted a growing fanbase and earned nods from international tastemakers

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4:16 PM HKT, Fri June 14, 2024 4 mins read

Over the past decade or so, the Chinese streetwear scene has blossomed into its own, with local designers starting labels to bring their vision to a scene once dominated by overseas brands. And consumers are into it.

The roots of street fashion in China and Shanghai run at least two decades deep. According to Randomevent founder and fashion expert Younker Hong, “As I recall, Flystreetwear was the earliest local streetwear brand, founded right around the turn of the millennium. Then, ACU opened its doors on Changle Lu in 2006 selling all kinds of local and imported labels. In the 2010s a bunch of Chinese brands began to emerge including ANB, MYGE, DOE, Attempt, Roaringwild and, also, [my brand] Randomevent.”

More recently, as trends like guochao have made made-in-China cool again, China’s younger generations have grown increasingly eager to fill their wardrobes with pieces from local labels. Here’s RADII’s guide to four (and a half!) of China’s most interesting streetwear brands, all of whose clothing you can pick up in brick and mortar stores around Shanghai:

Randomevent and Melting Sadness

Founded by Younker Hong in 2012, Randomevent is a Shanghai-based streetwear brand that has ridden the guochao wave to significant renown both in China and abroad. Hong says the brand name alludes to “an anticipation for the random events in life,” reflected in the natural, effortless look that ties the brand together.

Aside from its seasonal drops, the brand has done collaborations with a number of established fashion staples such as New Balance, Reebok, Herschel, and Gramicci. Randomevent’s appeal as a partner stems from it being “cool” and having a strong presence in the local scene, explains Hong.

According to Hong, “The inspiration for my designs comes from life. It’s the changes in my environment that most stimulate my creativity. I think the brand and our designs are expressions of emotion and aesthetics that reflect different feelings at each stage of life.”

One stage of life that seems to play a particularly big role in Randomevent’s designs is 90s and early 00s pop culture. Pieces boast an amalgamation of visual references taken from hip hop culture, the surf and skate fashion crazes of the late 90s/early 00s, and luxury houses, all done up in Randomevent’s “clean look” style and the blue-green hues that pervade Hong’s creative vision.

Running parallel to Randomevent but in a category all its own is Melting Sadness. The newer brand was created by Zhang Quan and Randomevent in 2016, based on Zhang’s art project of the same name — meant to evoke the idea of sadness melting away. Though probably best known for its apparel lines with Randomevent, the Melting Sadness universe encompasses various forms of artistic output, from sculpture to drawing and installation.

Design themes are based on Zhang Quan’s world of childlike technicolor whimsy, and are centered around a cohort of characters, the most iconic of which is Karoro — a boy in a rabbit costume.

Melting Sadness has continually played with a cute and childish sense of fun and experimented with styles that employ cartoon-like reimaginings of 70s-sitcom-esque motifs and soft, kidcore pastels. Zhang Quan’s designs also haven’t escaped the notice of international brands like Adidas, with whom he’s created Adidas Originals sneakers.

Randomevent, Melting Sadness, and the two brains behind the brands have received a significant amount of international attention from the likes of Hypebeast and Highsnobiety — and we think they deserve it.

You can find Randomevent and Melting Sadness here:

Randomevent and Slab Town Space

C Park Haisu, 618-666 Zhaohua Rd., Changning District, Shanghai

Randomevent + Melting Sadness Store

1385 Yuyuan Rd., Changning District, Shanghai

Monday Sleeping Club

Monday Sleeping Club, aka 周一睡觉俱乐部, is a boutique street fashion brand that leans into the luxury side of “lying flat” culture. And that makes sense, because Monday Sleeping Club is a newer addition to Shanghai and China’s rapidly expanding homegrown fashion scene, which opened its doors in the wake of the tangping and bailan discourse in 2022.

The vibe hits you as soon as you walk into Monday Sleeping Club’s flagship store. It’s like dropping into the soft embrace of a plush pillow. Clean designs employ a palette of muted pastels that invoke an immediate sense of dreamy nostalgia. The curvy, serifed logo only ups this factor.

Some of the designs curated by brand director Zhao Mo play with a 90s computer room aesthetic and act as a tongue-in-cheek nod to China’s now-passé shanzhai culture. The hats and shirts feature not-quite-correct versions of the classic Microsoft Windows, IBM, and Apple logos, and even the iconic Macintosh “Picasso” logo, complete with a woman sleeping head-down on the desk in front of the computer.

You can find Monday Sleeping Club here:

Monday Sleeping Club Flagship Store

72 Yanqing Rd., Xuhui District, Shanghai

Crying Center

Crying Center, China Crying Center (CCC), or simply 哭喊中心, was founded in 2017 by a collective of designers in an effort to give full expression to each member’s unique vision while obscuring the actual faces behind each release. Seasonal drops are the work of an ever-growing rotation of designers, and the brand simultaneously appeals to China’s hipster-like yabi subculture and more mainstream fashion-minded youth.

Crying Center’s stylistically promiscuous, late-capitalist-friendly aesthetic runs the gamut from the almost Carhartt-skewering workwear of the latest SS24 drop, to cyberpunk/cybergoth rave and e-kid, too cool style, then still further to incorporations of anime and children’s artwork. Some of it could almost be called anti-design: self-referential work that sometimes has literal definitions or instructions related to the creation of the garment printed on the fabric. And yet, there’s still something that makes it all unmistakably CCC.

Even though some of CCC’s looks can border on the eccentric, their plain logo tees enjoy wider popularity and aren’t a rare sight on the streets of Shanghai or other major Chinese cities.

You can find CCC and other apparel from Chinese designers here:

China Crying Center

TX Huaihai Fl. 4, 523 Huaihai Middle Rd., Xuhui District, Shanghai

GoodBai Studio

GoodBai Studio is a boutique street lifestyle fashion label founded in 2021 by Bai Jingting. According to the brand’s own “About” statement, its inspiration comes from a “passion for nature and life.” The exact look is hard to place, but it’s clean and incorporates elements of vintage preppy styles, kidcore, and wonky cartoonish fonts and drawings that all mesh together within a cute body of work.

Rather than just a flash-in-the-pan passion project for Bai, the GoodBai brand seems to be a sincere attempt to break into the fashion and lifestyle space. And whether because of Bai Jingting’s pre-existing fame or GoodBai’s own brand chops, it seems to be working. According to the “The 2023 Global Fashion IP List from Fashion Exchange and Alibaba’s CBNData, GoodBai placed second behind Fear of God for the year’s global fashion IPs. The celebrity-owned label has also had a collab with KFC.

You can find GoodBai here:

GoodBai Store

92 Yanqing Rd., Xuhui District, Shanghai

GoodBai Cafe

104 Yanqing Rd., Xuhui District, Shanghai

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