As global as the world is today, with so many products available across the internet, there is still a proximity advantage to living in Italy, if you are like me and you relish the products that come out of this country. It has clothing production in its DNA.
Here in Milan, private vendita, outlets, and a healthy resale market mean deals and discoveries are easily accessible on the ground in person, while largely absent online. At Bivio Milano resale, vintage, consignment, one finds a revolving encyclopedia of wearable Italian history at verrrry reasonable prices—€10-15 for t-shirts, €20-40 for knits, <€100 for coats, €30 for belts, €40-100 for shoes, and about 1/4 original retail price for leather bags, though sometimes less.
This combination of selection and affordability has bumped the store to the top of my mind whenever I am near, passing by, or have visitors in town. If I’m being honest, it’s also an addiction: one must browse often as inventories turn over regularly, and prices are low enough to seem almost free.
So far purchased at Bivio since September 2015 (minus the list of knits from a previous post):
- Prada green washed leather bowler bag, Italy
- Prada oval plate-buckle black leather belt, Italy
- Eyevan 7285 tortoise acetate rectangle-frame sunglasses (model 715), Japan
- Dsquared2 black rubber wellington boots, Italy
- Prada black brogue lace-ups with Vibram rubber sole, Italy
- Louis Vuitton black leather and monogram canvas “Line Up” high-top sneakers, Italy
- Tod’s brown suede chelsea boots, Italy
- Dsquared2 light blue cotton chino trousers, Italy
- Neil Barrett wool-poly-blend trousers with zip-cinch detail at leg opening, Romania
- H&M acid-wash skinny jeans, Bangladesh
- Armani Jeans drop-crotch slim fit denim jeans with tab closure, Italy
- Antony Morato medium-wash denim jeans, Turkey
- Antony Morato light-wash denim jeans, Turkey
- Dsquared2 light purple cotton graphic t-shirt, Italy
- Adidas gray cotton-poly blend crew-neck t-shirt with mesh star cutouts along the hemline, China
- Adam Adam Lippes gray cotton crew-neck t-shirt, Peru
- Dior Homme tan cotton t-shirt with black print, Turkey
- Yves Saint Laurent black cotton “YSL” tonal logo t-shirt, Italy
- Zara navy plaid cotton slim-fit button-down, Turkey
- Costume National black cotton button-down, Italy
- Gucci light gray cotton button-down, Italy
- Gucci light blue cotton button-down, Italy
- Regenerate denim western-style pleated-placket button-down, Italy
- Jil Sander black cotton double-placket button-down with hidden buttons (a la chef’s jacket look), Italy
- H&M black acrylic unstructured knit double-breast blazer
- Paolo Pecora cotton unstructured jersey single-breast blazer with raw-edge seams, Italy
- C.P. Company navy cotton jacket in denim jacket style, Italy
- Unsigned black wool-blend simple winter coat, China
- Zara “Spanish blue” poly-blend blazer, Bulgaria
- Zara gray poly-blend blazer with allover floral print, Turkey
- Gazzarrini black cotton biker jacket with various zippers, Italy
- Unsigned navy poly-blend waffle-knit sweater with quilted shoulder patches (a la Belstaff)
Okay, now I feel like a hoarder…
While these items are gently used, they represent invaluable upgrades to my wardrobe and new novelties to play with. Their associated “cost-to-satisfaction ratios” that are far higher than paying full retail when new, from the boutiques in the Quadrilatero (which I have done plenty of too). Thirty euros for Japanese acetate sunglasses from a brand I’ve lusted over recently, whose frames sell for €400-500 new on MRPORTER? Yesplz!
Bivio’s own Matteo (below) at first made a few recommendations here and there—the language barrier had us at a distance. I became a familiar face over time, and from that point, he went full on stylist. Now he pulls things as soon as I walk in the door, and at least 50% of what I’ve purchased has been through his advise.
To prune my closet, which everyone should do regularly as it is cathartic and makes way for new things…I’ve made use of Bivio’s easy buying process, handing off items I just don’t wear enough. I also dropped a size from my former Tampa GIRTH.
Sold for store credit (or they pay cash if preferred):
- Multiple James Perse tops: t-shirts, polos
- Vince double-layer hoodie t-shirt
- Vince white, green, and navy plaid button-down
- J.Crew black dress trousers made with Loro Piana wool
- Alexander McQueen black and gold leather and suede sneakers
- Church’s blue suede penny loafers
- Peal Co. for Brooks Brothers brown leather monk straps
- Nike Lunar Flyknit sneakers in Missoni-esque print
- Tod’s brown suede chelsea boots (same ones I bought—they pinched my toes)
Outside the tourist zone, integrated with its two neighborhoods (Colonne di San Lorenzo and Porta Venezia), Bivio serves many purposes. It’s relatively untapped as a source of inexpensive style for hunter-shoppers and offers an authentic view of fashion in Italy that is harder to decipher in slick luxury stores, which sell a brand image and experience as much as they sell a product, at a much higher margin.
There is no filter at Bivio. What you see and chance to find is what you get, and that is a refreshing way to encounter clothing in the age of overproduction, uncertain sourcing and quality, and the necessity of consumers to allocate resources more carefully.
While Bivio isn’t the place you come with an objective in mind, to find something specific, there’s magic in the serendipity of finding an item you didn’t you know you love and you need; it’s a more romantic way to shop.
Especially for those without deep pockets, it allows anyone to indulge in a bit of impulse shopping that in traditional retail environments is too expensive and wasteful. Plus, it’s social, friendly, and for some “VIPs” I suspect, it’s like having a friend on the inside who knows where all the good stuff is.
Read more about Bivio with FAQs on their website. Locations in Milan are at: Via Giacomo Mora 4 and Via Lambro 12.