Il Bisonte: An Italian Leather in the Land of the Rising Sun – Japan

Il Bisonte Manuela Women

In the world of luxury fashion, discovering hidden gems often involves stumbling upon lesser-known brands that have a unique story to tell. One such brand that caught my attention recently is Il Bisonte, an Italian label that seems to have captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts in Japan more than it has in its home country.

DISCLAIMER: This is an UNSPONSORED review. I purchased all of these products myself and am not affiliated with the brand mentioned in any way. All statements and expressions made about the products are solely the opinion of Tanner Leatherstein and are not meant to be conclusive or definitive. The purpose of this video is for informational and educational purposes only. We recommend that as a consumer, you exercise your due diligence and research on the products before adopting the opinion of Tanner Leatherstein. 

Unveiling the Japanese Connection

My introduction to the enchanting world of Il Bisonte took an unexpected turn while perusing the Neiman Marcus website in search of Christian Louboutin shoes and a coveted $250 discount. It was during this quest that I stumbled upon Il Bisonte's classic clutch in a striking hot pink hue, triggering a deep curiosity about the brand's roots and the intriguing phenomenon of its greater popularity in Japan than in its Italian homeland.

The allure of Il Bisonte in Japan is nothing short of remarkable, boasting an impressive 38 stores in the Land of the Rising Sun compared to a mere three in Italy. This anomaly captivated my interest, prompting a deep dive into the brand's history. In 1999, Il Bisonte made its bold entry into the Japanese market, swiftly becoming an embodiment of "Made in Italy" style. The brand's resonance with Japanese leather enthusiasts, who share a profound appreciation for the specific style of leather offered by Il Bisonte, serves as a driving force behind its triumph in the Japanese fashion landscape.

Wanny Di Filippo: A Visionary Founder with Eccentricity

At the core of Il Bisonte's story resides its unconventional founder, Wanny Di Filippo. Radiating with a lively and free-spirited demeanor, Wanny embarked on a leathercraft journey in the 1970s, transforming his dreams into tangible creations. Confronted with rejection for his designs that were considered overly original, Wanny's persistence triumphed, birthing a brand that serves as a living testament to his unyielding dedication to the realms of leather and design.

Wanny's affinity for bison, showcased in his personal museum in Florence, not only serves as the inspiration for the brand's name but also reveals the distinctive and captivating character of Il Bisonte's visionary founder. His journey, marked by resilience and creativity, has left an indelible mark on the brand, shaping it into an emblem of authentic Italian craftsmanship and style that transcends borders and resonates deeply in the hearts of global fashion enthusiasts.

Dissecting the Clutch: Uncovering the Details

As we transition into the dissection of the Il Bisonte bag, the spotlight turns to the hardware and construction details, revealing insights into the brand's commitment to quality and craftsmanship.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that the hardware of the Il Bisonte bag is crafted from a relatively soft metal. As I manipulated and tested it, the ease with which it could be cut and opened raised concerns about its durability. This observation hints at a potential limitation within their supply chain, suggesting that sourcing high-quality metal hardware within the 30 km radius of Florence might be a challenge. While not inherently bad, it falls short of being considered top-tier hardware.

Another detail that caught my attention during the bag's dissection was the method used to attach the fabric lining to the leather. Instead of employing a more durable stitching technique, Il Bisonte opted for stapling. While this is a cost-saving measure, it may compromise the longevity and robustness of the bag. Additionally, the presence of uncleaned stitch lines on the interior, which will remain unseen, signals potential time or quantity pressures within the workshop.

Moving on to the material itself, the ash test is conducted to verify the leather's composition. The result is encouraging, as the residue resembles wood charcoal, indicating that the leather is indeed vegetable-tanned. No chrome residue is observed, confirming that the leather is 100% vegetable-tanned, aligning with the brand's claims.

Acetone Test and Finish Quality

The application of acetone to remove the finish on top of the leather provides further insights. A minimal amount of plastic finish comes off, revealing a semi-aniline finish atop a full-grain cowhide vegetable-tanned base. This combination results in a visually stunning tumbled leather with a variant grain pattern featuring pebbles. The clever and simple design showcases the brand's ability to make the most of the natural characteristics of the leather.

Cost Breakdown and Fair Pricing

As the dissection concludes, attention shifts to the overall cost breakdown of the bag. With a maximum leather estimate of $14, coupled with other materials and assembly costs in Italy amounting to approximately $25, the total production cost is estimated at $39 - $40. This analysis supports the argument that the $200 price tag for the bag is reasonable and fair, especially considering the use of quality materials and Italian craftsmanship. Moreover, potential discounts available for this product make it even more accessible, challenging the notion that great leather products must come with exorbitant price tags.


Il Bisonte's pricing strategy aligns with the quality of materials and craftsmanship invested in its products. While some shortcuts may be evident, the overall value proposition remains compelling. The brand's dedication to ethical practices and local sourcing adds a layer of authenticity that resonates with consumers seeking genuine, sustainable luxury.

For those intrigued by Il Bisonte, exploring discounts on platforms like Neiman Marcus can be a savvy move. The journey into this Italian brand not only revealed a unique story but also reinforced the idea that true luxury doesn't always come with a hefty price tag. As we immerse ourselves in the world of leather, Il Bisonte serves as a reminder to appreciate the beauty of natural materials and craftsmanship, transcending the allure of luxury store brands and glamorous advertising.

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