The story appears on

Page C2

October 29, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Welcome to fantasy Maid Cafe

A weekend creative mart in Yangpu District offers odd-ball dolls, green products, nostalgia goods and graffiti shows. It features a Maid Cafe where girls dress up as chamber maids. Yao Minji checks it out. A hot seller is a small doll, with a bull's horn, a deer's eyes, red cheeks, a tiny black body and a cross mark below the mouth. It's not pretty, it's quite bizarre, but it has a kind of odd-ball allure that attracts people from more beautiful toys.

This distinctive plaything is not something displayed in department stores and designers' brand stores - instead, it's available with many other innovative items at the Creative Mart in the Knowledge and Innovation Community in Yangpu District's Wujiaochang area. The area is home to a number of prestigious schools like Fudan University.

The organizer has built a temporary mart in the plaza of the community. Structured like old longtang or lanes, the venue is packed with around 50 vendors selling all kinds of original products and services.

Open on weekends through November 8 from 2pm to 9pm on Saturday and from 2pm to 7pm on Sunday, it also features live performances of popular local bands and graffiti groups.

The idea is to gather all kinds of trendy groups to discover and express their aspirations.

Vendors display all kinds of items and scenes - rare second-hand CDs, fresh environmentally friendly products, an intriguing cosplay cafe with girls dressed as fantasy waitresses and goods that evoke nostalgia and childhood memories.

Many are for sale, some are just for display as vendors want to promote their ideas.

Green O Vate

Green O Vate, an environmental group with members of various nationalities, aims to "combine business and social potential to do something meaningful in China." It sells "green" tote bags and T-shirts and promotes its projects.

A recent project, Made Green in China (MaGiC), is a platform to challenge the stereotypes of "Made in China" and traditional mindsets. It holds seminars and discussions in design schools and universities about sustainable design and lifestyle.

It is organizing a sustainable design competition for design students around China. The 10 finalists will work with the group on sustainable design projects in Shanghai for a month.


The group has designed a fictional pirate (also called Tyakasha) who comes from a remote star that is preparing to invade the Earth.

For the group's young designers, Tyakasha is a pioneer, an adventurer and a symbol of courage and pursuit of dreams.

Colorful illustrations about the pirate, his home star and life are printed on T-shirts, stickers, trucker caps, blank CDs and DVD labels. And the name and logo Tyakasha is also stamped on all their designs.

Maid Cafe

Maid Cafe has been popular in Japan for a long time, along with the increasing number of otaku, a Japanese term referring to people with obsessive interests particularly in anime, manga and video games.

Reclusive otaku, generally lacking communications and interpersonal skills, enjoy going to maid cafes featuring young women dressed as chamber maids, waitresses, shop assistants, stewardesses or in other costumes. They innocently satisfy otaku fantasies of dominating women from animation, cartoons and video games.

This Shanghai Maid Cafe in the creative mart caters to the same kind of obsessed people, as its organizer is also an otaku. It is believed to be the only one in the city and serves snacks and coffee. Those dressed as chamber maids wear black uniforms, white aprons and white caps. Some hold teddy bears and children's toys.

"The great thing is to attract the otaku, who don't like going out, to come out of their rooms for some fresh air," says 26-year-old Chen Hao, organizer of Maid Cafe.


Every Saturday or Sunday, two or three performances are held to cheer up visitors who are looking for innovations and surprises.

Most of these groups, musical or graffiti, are formed by young people in their late teens or early 20s. They are fresh, brave and bold.

Address: 234-290 Songhu Rd


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend