I’ve recently saw a post from Culture Shock Tour about ‘Hai Pai’ aka ‘Shanghai Style’ that really inspired me. The combination of Chinese and Western culture resulted in the birth of inclusive and an openness to diversity – Hai Pai.


Hai Pai is rooted in traditional Chinese culture, based on the fusion of the essence of Wu and Yue culture, from Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, and absorbs to a lot of western culture. It embodied rebellion against traditional conventions and boldness in innovation.


Li Shoubai, showing Shanghai’s distinctive haipai culture

One of the first expressions of Hai Pai, ‘cultivated’ by old generations till these days and shocking foreign newcomers, was adopting the habit of wearing…Pajamas! Proud Shanghailanders started wearing it outside to make sure everyone around noticed how stylish they were.


Another significant example of inclusive Hai Pai’s spirit was the transformation of traditional Qi Pao/Cheongsam. Influenced by western aesthetic standard, traditional Chinese Qi Pao was shortened and became more fitted. The new Qi Pao, originated in Shanghai, quickly took over the rest of China in no time.


Even when the glamour and decadence had to surrender in the face of pervasive Communism, Shanghai people just could not let all the elegance go and that’s how the “fake collars” were born.


Now the opulence and unlimited indulgence are back in Mo Du (Shanghai’s nickname which means “fascinating city” or “devil’s / magical city”) and seems like Hai Pai is at the peak of its Renaissance.


The multinational crowd of foreigners gather at countless fashion events and fairs, bringing new designs and inspiration that locals embrace almost immediately.


Shanghai Tang

After all, the city’s chic reputation, that took years of efforts to gain, could not be ruined in the eyes of foreign guests! The answer was ‘Why not? It’s Shanghai!’  Yes – whether you call it the Hai Pai, Mo Du, Paris of the East or even paradox. Hai Pai never ceases to make its own, bold, fashion statement and I consider myself lucky to be witnessing it!

毕竟,城市的时尚之名靠的是经年累月的经营,绝不会在外国人眼里说垮就垮!回答是“为什么不?这就是上海。”是的 - 无论您管她叫作海派、魔都、东方小巴黎海派从不停止她大胆的时尚宣言,我也为能见证这样的文化变迁而感到幸运!


Angela Bi is an international citizen who has lived both in Shanghai and Vancouver Canada. She’s worked in immigration for over a decade and has experienced first hand the joys of living overseas. Angela Bi 是生活在中国上海及加拿大温哥华两地的世界公民。她从事专业移民行业已有十余载,并掌握着旅居海外的一手乐活体验。

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