The beautiful story of Firm Bonfanti started in 1946 thanks to Grandpa Walter and has continued throughout the years first with his sons Mario and Elio and later with their daughters Serena and Chiara. Walter began his company on the narrow streets of Barriera di Milano, a charming and challenging area that has become over time a melting pot of ethnic groups and different traditions. The ditta Bonfanti specialized in the creation, realization and distribution of buttons, buckles and accessories. Thanks to the hard work of 3 generations, even during difficult times, they have grown and evolved without loosing the professionalism, the exclusivity and the knowledge, becoming a real pride of what is known as “made in Italy”.
Walking around the premises, it feels like walking around a museum where buttons are not just buttons but real jewels. During our tour Serena and Chiara explain that the core of their company continue to be the artisanal spirit of the beginnings, still very visible in the current collections that, twice a year, the creative mind of Elio Bonfanti designs, following the trends in fashion where buttons gain a leading role and are not just accessories.
The pieces of each collection, with their different colors and shapes, are hand stitched to the pages of binders, where each binder becomes a masterpiece of craftsmanship in the hands of vendors not only in Italy but also in the United States of America, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Japan: as you can imagine their buttons, buckles and accessories are sold all over the world.
Over the years, they were able to become extremely flexible and versatile: in this way they have been able to fulfill their clients’ needs and requests with unique custom made pieces. What about the materials? Beside the more traditional ones like mother of pearl, horn, corazzo and metal, we have the Eco Buttons made with environmentally friendly and recycled materials such as recycled paper, hemp, coconut, vegetable ivory and wood.
They have also a fun line of buttons called “emoticon buttons”: designed by the artist Paolo Gillone better known as “Jeans” and inspired by the book “ La guerra dei bottoni” written at the end of 1800: you can attach and detach them depending on the mood. Thinking back on our visit, it would be nice one day to have a museum: starting with the buttons that made history of Ditta Bonfanti until the more recent emoticon buttons, that talk about our current state of mind.
Since 1946 you can find this and more at via Baltea 20. A sign of tradition that is open to the future and to what is different. You can appreciate the respect for integration.