IWD – THE COLLECTION: Frank Chen

Buying Shoes in Shanghai. This is a challenge for us right? Shopping for Shoes down Huaihai Lu, isn’t quite the same as shopping down Oxford Street. They are either too small, too expensive or just don’t look quite right. The owner of THE COLLECTION on Wulumuqi Lu has totally filled the gap in this market.  Beautiful Shoes, on trend, reasonably priced AND he stocks size 39+.
There is a God and his name is Frank Chen!

Hi Frank, Nice to meet you. What brought you to Shanghai? 

In Feb 2011, I first travelled to Shanghai from Shenzhen for a weekend and fell in love with this city. Shanghai architecture is so diverse and when visiting the Former French Concession it was like stepping into Paris. It looked so beautiful all the old houses, trees, people sitting outside cafés enjoying the peaceful surroundings. I had a great time during my first visit. I went to many bars, restaurant, galleries, boutique shops and I was feeling Shanghai was the place I wanted to live in and be apart of.

What inspired you to open The Collection? 

After living in Shanghai for three years I found women in Shanghai are crazy about shoes. Especially when going to events and parties, many ladies were wearing glamorous high heels with pricey labels attached to them that not every women can afford. Coming from a footwear background I was confident there would be a market in Shanghai for quality women’s footwear with affordable prices. I had all the resources from when I was working for designer brands in South China and SE Asia. After months of preparation and choosing a range of affordable styles it was time to open The Collection and I’ve never looked back.

With so many other stores and boutiques in the FFC what makes The Collection unique in Shanghai?  

The Collection provides quality, stylish shoes with affordable prices. When selecting shoes from upcoming seasons I take inspiration from collections in New York, London and Paris fashion weeks offering current fashion styles. All staff are bi-lingual in both English & Chinese making the shopping experience accessible for both expats & Chinese clients.  Throughout the year I organize events and parties in my shop and sometimes collaborate with small businesses who have a modern lifestyle approach. This makes The Collection not just a shoe place, but also a good place for people to socialize.

The Collection sells some pretty stunning shoes,  where do you get your inspiration for your stock? 

Fashion weeks, magazines and TV shows including Project Runway and American’s Next Top Model. Where ever I go I always pay attention to the street styles to see what’s trending and fashionable. I travel a lot and always look to see what fellow travelers and cabin crew are wearing. With summer approaching it’s a must to have the right footwear especially when you’re on holiday and The Collection’s new range can really complete a woman’s overall look.

What is the average cost of shoes you stock? 

The Collection’s prices are almost up to 70% less compared to some other designer shoes in China market based on the same quality standard. For my Spring/Summer collection, the prices are between 500-700 RMB.

Sometimes foreigners find there are only small shoe sizes available in China and anything over a size 39 is like a double rainbow – does The Collection have a range that offers larger sizes? 

Good question, we do carry size 39+ with the biggest size at 43. Once a month The Collection hosts ‘large size’ day where the shoe selection choice is greater. For The Collection’s future expansion a bigger range of styles and sizes will be available throughout the year in the bigger store.

Do you have a favourite shoe designer? 

Yes, I would say Jimmy Choo. I love the styles, simple but stylish and elegant.


What should we be wearing in 2016? 

Strappy shoes are big this year, we have a collection of strappy heels and flats in our spring/summer collection. They will go well with skinny jeans and skirts. Blue and pink are two big colors for Spring / Summer 2016 which will freshen up last year’s wardrobe in a pinch. The new season’s looks are already available in the store now.

And lastly (we ask everyone this) as Shanghai resident, what’s your top place to hang out and why? 

Haha, I mostly hang out at Green & Safe. It’s just walking distance to my shop. I usually go there for dinner or to meet friends. It’s a very cosy place nearby to my shop with many stylish women wearing beautiful shoes.

Visit THE COLLECTION and Frank at No 126, South Wulumuqi Lu, near Yongjia Lu and follow him on WeChat here: 

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