Dreams of a flea market

Updated: 2014-06-26 09:43

By Wang Ying (Shanghai Star)

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Dreams of a flea market

Treasure trove: Finding a bargain becomes a reality at Dreams Flea Market. Provided to Shanghai Star

The Shanghai shopper is spoilt for choice. For the housewife or weekend chef, the place to shop and socialize is still the "shi chang" or market. Even with the growing popularity and convenience of online shopping and door-to-door delivery and logistics, nothing can replace a trip to the market where the tradition of gathering with friends and family is being kept alive.

Usually the market is within the neighborhood, and crowded at weekends with its big turnout of shoppers. But there are also organic food markets, flea markets, arts markets and music markets in Shanghai, which offer a platform for hobbyists and converts to gather, buy, sell or even barter. Wu Ni and Wang Ying show you the way to a few on market day.

Dreams of a flea market
Checking out organic choices
Dreams of a flea market
Spring into vintage era
There are now various flea markets popping up around Shanghai offering buyers and sellers anything from vintage goods to handcraft, fashion, food or art. Not so long ago, however, this rather foreign concept was unknown in Shanghai. The first flea market only started in early 2012.

Yu Sisi remembers that the first flea market she organized was on a cold winter day in February two years ago, at Tianzifang, an alley converted from factory area to arts street. She had gathered more than 70 stand owners, who shared goods and stories with visitors.

"At first, it was simply because I couldn't find a flea market in this city, so I started one myself," says Yu, founder of Dreams Flea Market (DFM). "Then I discovered that it became more and more meaningful, so I decided to organize the flea market on a regular basis."

So far, Yu has already organized more than 30 flea markets in various locations, getting closer to her ultimate aim of hosting one every weekend.

Philips Sust is one of the earliest participants in the DFM. Coming from Germany, Sust settled in Shanghai about six years ago.

"I had started doing the markets as a hobby during my time in Shanghai. There were many markets with different styles. When we first participated in the DFM market it was the most successful one I had yet attended."

Sust sells an assortment of military goods brought over from Germany and Switzerland, as well as hand-made brass products, made between the 1930s and 1960s.

He used to be a stockbroker in Germany, and Sust says he decided to quit because the job seemed more about the pursuit of money than something that makes him happy.

"It is not a platform for buying and selling only, but also a good place to find friends," says 32-year-old Du Yu.

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