Your Next 5 Favorite Second-Hand Fashion Shops in Milan
Turn It Sustainable With Our Tips!
26 september '22
Reading time: 7 minutes
Thrifting is a great way of making your closet sustainable - and it’s all the rage nowadays. We have selected 5 shops in Milan, Italy, where you’re guaranteed to find great and unique pieces so you can renew your wardrobe at a low impact. Discover how you can experience local culture while on a shopping trip.
Words by Alice Costantino
It certainly won’t surprise you to hear that you can find fantastic clothes in Milan. As host of one of the four main Fashion Weeks and home to some of the biggest maisons out there, it deserves its title as a fashion capital. But what you may not know is that the Italian metropolis also has many vintage and second-hand shops, each with its own character and history, which means every type of fashion lover is bound to find at least one new favorite shop among them. Buying pre-owned clothing is a great way of building and showing your own unique style, as well as lowering your impact on the environment by reducing your consumption of fast fashion. Here are five wonderful places to shop second-hand and vintage in Milan.
#1 Cavalli & Nastri
We’re kicking the list off with a veritable institution of Milan vintage shopping. Since opening in the 1970s, long before thrifting became a trend, Cavalli & Nastri has delighted its clientèle with its carefully curated selection of high-quality and often designer pieces - their collection of Hermès ties is highly renowned. Original founder Claudia Jesi still manages the shop, now helped by her granddaughter Benedetta. At Cavalli & Nastri, you will find a decidedly sophisticated atmosphere of old fashioned interior décor and vintage music. But it won’t be just the mood that will take you on a journey through time - some of the pieces in the shop are seriously ancient and rare, going as far back as the late 19th century. A true gem and absolutely a must-visit for historical fashion enthusiasts.
#2 20134 Lambrate
Though not as old as the previous entry, 20134 Lambrate has a fair bit of history to it as well. Cecilia, the owner, opened it in 2009 and has been stocking it ever since with the hidden gems she finds going through basements, warehouses, old family wardrobes, flea markets and such. Her ability to sift through massive amounts of clothing and come up with forgotten gems by big name designers is somewhat legendary among industry people, and it is not rare for maison representatives to hire Cecilia to find specific pieces for them. She is also a member at Madame Pauline, another high end Milanese second hand shop, so you can bet she knows her way around vintage clothing.
#3 East Market
This is not a permanent shop but a regular market where privates can sell any type of merchandise, from electronics and vinyls to furniture to books and posters, though of course a large part of their wares are clothing. The market is located in an abandoned aeronautic factory, after the manner of English open-space markets in industrial spaces. Their motto ‘Everything old is new again’ really explains the founders’ philosophy succinctly. Linda Ovadia and Gianluca Iovine say that their mission is to educate younger people to the idea of giving new life to objects rather than throwing them out at the first sign of malfunction and buying a cheap replacement. With 46 editions and 250 thousand total visitors under their belt, as well as a nod from the New York Times and Grazia, it is safe to say that East Market’s formula is successful regardless of generation.
#4 Ambroeus Milano
And indeed the new generations have received the message loud and clear and are running with it. Siblings Ettore and Giorgia Dell’Orto and their best friend Massimo Milani have taken up shop in what used to be a craftsman’s laboratory in the Isola neighborhood and have opened their own buy-sell-trade secondhand shop there, with their shoemaker grandfather’s sewing machine sitting in the shop window as a symbol of the family’s legacy. Ambroeus will buy and sell clothing of any brand, not just designer, but they have a strict ban on anything fast fashion and pay great attention to the quality, material and tailoring of the pieces. So you can find vintage clothes from the 1960s lovingly passed down from parent to child alongside extremely recent well-made pieces that someone bought in the wrong size and decided to give away.
#5 Remira market
One of the newest and freshest additions to the Milanese thrifting landscape, Remira market was founded only in 2019 by friends Katia Meneghini and Virginia Tardella. Katia, the creative director, is also the cofounder of the art and design studio CTRLZAK and has collaborated with fashion companies and events for sustainable production, while Virginia, the sustainability manager, is the cofounder of Worldwide Onlus for the protection of marine flora and fauna and the PM of No Plastic No Fun, a networking hub for plastic-free clubs and bars. Remira market has a dual mission of making sustainability accessible and cultivating creativity, which it pursues by encouraging and facilitating eco friendly gestures like biking and reusing bottles and hosting workshops, exhibitions and performances by its dedicated clients and fans.