By Verona Lee
IMAGINE walking through a set of dcors and all your senses are immediately stimulated: the feel of fabrics from cotton to linen; the sight of vintage sofa, wooden chairs and well-tended garden; the surreal sounds of music and the taste of refreshing Chinese green tea.
You have entered Urban Tribe.
Urban Tribe is a lifestyle boutique; gallery and café along the leafy Fuxing Road W. ShangHainese girls Jasmine Mu and Gao Ping wanted their boutique-cum-gallery to be a calming retreat for urban dwellers who seek a different lifestyle after the stressed workday.
“Both of us love traveling. We wanted everything in Urban Tribe to capture the peace and experience of our many travels,” Gao says. “Our slogan is‘a life tracing to the source.’”
The duo creates handmade products for every facet of life to support their “natural lifestyle” concept. The naturally-lit calming space is filled with a collection of design clothing, chunky jewelry, home accessories such as handmade pottery, special travel kits and gorgeous large matted photographs in both black and white and color.
Most of the products are designed by the two shop owners, who have good tastes and unique life concepts. They’ve created a clean environment that emphasizes displayed combine simple yet unique designs and, most importantly, are environmentally-friendly.
The breezy, baggy clothing is made using traditional methods and cotton, linen, or woolen fabrics dyed with vegetable dyes. The fall collection reflects Urban Tribe’s modern interpretation of “Ci,” a traditional Chinese way of stitching.
Ci used to be very popular in traditional dresses of minorities who inhabit southwest China, but its usage is now fading away quickly, In Ci, patterns are embroidered onto the cotton material neatly and densely, to create a new surface to the material.
The traditional Ci material starts with hand-woven cotton dyed with natural colors that are abstracted from various wild vegetables and plants. Much effort is spent on stitching the or patterns onto the material.
“Ci is slowly becoming extinct because of other modern techniques that are quicker and easier to mass produce, but we try in our fall collection to reintroduce this beautiful material, and show our respects to its tradition,” Gao says.
Shoppers can take a respite in the adjoining café, or sip tea in the garden. Here, visitors sip peppermint tea or Italian coffee while reclining on comfortable cushions and chairs as they enjoy the photographs on the walls and flip through the travel guides and destination books, perhaps planning their own trip to a fascinating region.