Any bargain shopper will tell you: Italy is where all the great steals are. Fashion girls will flock to Milan with full intentions of relishing all the great savings, be it Prada Cahier bags or Brunello Cucinelli outwear. Having grown up in Italy, Diego Abba, CEO of Italist, recognized this white space from an early age — and resolved to close it, so that more shoppers could afford and enjoy luxury. Thus, Italist was born: a first-of-its-kind e-tailer that sells designer goods at Italian prices (which are, on average, 40 percent lower), regardless of where shoppers are based.
So, how does it work? "We partner with 200 of Italy’s most-respected independent luxury fashion boutiques, add their in-store inventory to our site, and make their products available for purchase from anywhere in the world," shares Abba with TZR. "The result is a curated selection of over 1,000 worldwide brands, sold for the best prices on the market." Italian prices are inherently lower for several reasons, the greatest of which being that there are no importer or distributor costs in Italy, which notoriously drive up prices in other countries.
In doing some research, this price difference is most apparent in in-season, "new and now" styles — well before sales start sweeping across the web. So, if you're in the market to snag a bag directly from the latest runway show, Italist is well worth a visit. Take, for example, Loewe's Flamenco clutch: on Italist, the clutch's Narcisus Yellow color-way goes for $1,814.63 — a far cry from the $2,250 the bag retails for on Loewe's site. The same was true for Bottega Veneta's all-black, chain-strapped Cassette bag — the brand's online price was $3,800, while Italist's was just $3,311.97. This is inclusive of all fees and expedited shipping, which Italist promises on all its goods by shipping all items through DHL Global Express.
Beyond providing great savings, Italist serves a vital function for Italian brick-and-mortars, too. Amidst the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, through which Italy was one of the hardest-hit countries worldwide, Italist's e-commerce platform provided a vital stream of revenue for boutiques, who were adversely impacted by the loss in-store shoppers. " ... amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our platform has become a valuable lifeline for both the independent boutiques across Italy, allowing them to reach a wider breadth of shoppers worldwide, and for our shoppers, who can browse safely from home," shares Abba. This is certainly true for travelers, whose plans to visit Italy were upended this season. Now, they can indulge in the same shopping experience from wherever they're based, while also helping the far-flung boutiques to survive and thrive.
If you need to see it to believe it, now is as good a time as any to test-drive the platform. For those who may be looking for something slightly more cost-savvy than this season's latest It-bag, there are tons of marked-down styles in its whirlwind Spring/Summer 2020 sale as well. For today's most-coveted styles, continue below — and see the notes to price check Italist against the brand's own e-commerce platform: