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Store Visit: One Block Down

In the midst of Milan Fashion Week, we link with one of the city's eminent streetwear establishments to talk the Milanese streetwear scene and what building an archive of subcultural styles looks like.

Started in 2009 by founder and CEO Patrizio Vita, One Block Down has become one of Milan’s must-visit fashion, culture, and streetwear destinations. Having moved from its original location, the seven-hundred-square-metre space now sits in the heart of the city, un passo from the Milan Cathedral as locals would say.

Mixing the latest streetwear drops with a broader mix of products (from art books to niche magazines) One Block Down celebrates subcultures past and present, curating a selection that is unique to them. If you’re young in this city, you’re shopping and copping at One Block Down. 

BasementApproved dropped by the store during Pitti Uomo to meet the team and check out their famous streetwear cage.

One Block Down - Store Visit - Series- rack and books and magazines
One Block Down - Store Visit - Series- bags and rails
When and why did you open One Block Down?

One Block Down started in 2009; some friends and I decided we would open a store that would feature styles that we wore ourselves, and develop a premium stock selection through research.

Tell us a bit about the store and your vision for it?
We don’t define ourselves as a store, but as a brand. Our vision is to develop the best possible brand selection, staying true to ourselves while expanding the reach of culture to less informed customers. Our world is made of authentic brands, niche brands…all brands that have a story to tell, and we help them tell that story.
What do you love about Milan and the neighbourhood you're based in?

Milan is not a big metropolis, but for design and fashion it’s at the same level, if not more relevant. The distance between the fashion system and the production is very short. Our neighbourhood is near the oldest commercial area in the city, but it’s alive during the night scene.

What are some of your favorite brands you stock in the store?
We have a very diverse selection of brands that traverse an archive of different subcultures from all over the world: from Japanese brands such as Needles, Wacko Maria, Noma T.D. to historic American brands such as Schott, Carhartt WIP, and Levi’s, to streetwear brands from all angles of the world such as Polar Skate, Bricks & Woods, Dime, and Stussy and the classic sneaker brands like Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, and Asics. We also have a unique selection of outdoor brands, perfect for the city and nature, such as The North Face, Arc’teryx, Salomon, South2 West8, And Wander, etc. In general, our selection is very varied and takes into account a lot of cultural aspects that, at first sight, don’t always seem obvious.
What are some of your favourite new streetwear brands coming out right now?

We have a selection of global streetwear brands, with many of them founded recently; some of our favorites that are emerging lately and are made for an urban lifestyle are GX1000, Phats, Total Luxury Spa, and GR10K.

How has Milan’s streetwear scene changed in the last few years?

As with the rest of the world, the streetwear scene grew, becoming more mainstream and getting out of a niche. We also live in a global market where trends are global, so if something grows organically locally, it will often become international thanks to social networks.

How do you think the Pandemic has affected Milan’s creative scene?

Fortunately, not too much; there has been an adaptation, we don’t think it negatively affected creativity. We live in a country with a big creative scene and many aesthetic references all over it; from a certain point of view, the pandemic forced us to do the same things as before, just digitally.

What do you think sets Milan and Milan Fashion Week apart from other big fashion cities?

It’s the fact that many brands that have runway shows here are family businesses, independent labels. There is less of a corporate world.

How does Fashion Week affect business? Do you see an increase in visitors around Fashion Week?

Thanks to our position, many people who enter our space are tourists, so we see an increase in people coming through during Fashion Week.

What’s next for One Block Down?

What we want to do is to continue to establish our brand globally.

Federico Gea

Benedetta Santinelli

Written by
Francesco Loy Bell