After a positive 2019 for men’s fashion, with sales up +6.6%, surpassing the 10 billion euro-mark, and a +9.49% rise in exports, the picture for 2020 following the pandemic is dramatic: “We are recording a -25-35% loss in global revenue – explains Claudio Marenzi, President of Pitti Immagine and Confindustria Moda, at the digital press conference that presented the Pitti Connect project on Monday, June 20th – these are only the results from the first four months, but if we continue in this vein, we expect to end the year with -20 to -50% depending on the final scenario. If there were to be a contained resurgence of the virus, then there is a glimmer of hope. Otherwise, we will not recover before 2022. Companies today have a positive 2019 behind them, but if the pandemic were to continue they will arrive short of breath and the crisis, which for many today is only financial, could lead to bankruptcy”.
A complicated year that Pitti Immagine would like to face with optimism through the Pitti Connect proposal, which will allow brands and buyers to meet up and work on new collections, but also rediscover the atmosphere and across-the-board offering of the Florentine trade fairs.
“Pitti Connect was on the agenda for 2021 – explains Raffaello Napoleone CEO of Pitti Immagine – but because of the Covid emergency, we were forced to move it up on the schedule. Kicked off on 16 July, it will accompany us until 30 October: Pitti Uomo and Pitti Bimbo will be held until 9 October, Pitti Filati will be extended until 30 October, and Pitti Fragranze and Super will be held from 28 July to 30 October. As of today, we already have 400 registered brands, and you might even say all the necessary pillars of Pitti are present”. The fairs will be based on the theme “Out of the blue”, interpreting the desire to imagine an open season without any restrictions.
Pitti Connect replies to three challenges: “The first is the digital one – explains Agostino Poletto, general manager of Pitti Immagine – which is not a last minute investment for us, but rather the result of nine years of hard work. The second is to create an ambitious platform that manages to translate all the good we do in the four days of the physical fair into a digital channel: exhibitors will have the possibility to present their collections and companies, with visits to their virtual showrooms by buyers, while making the most of the innovative tools for interaction. The last challenge will be that of connecting the fairs and combining them into a lifestyle”.
Making the Pitti Connect platform extraordinary is also the program of special events it will host with the intention of reviving the unique flair typical of these Florentine trade fairs: “Instead of four days, our events will be spread out over three months – declares Lapo Cianchi, director of communication and special events at Pitti Immagine – with the aim of transforming the richness, variety, and across-the-board offering of the Pitti Immagine trade fairs into a digital format. Our partner in this program will be the Highsnobiety agency of production, chosen because it has an approach similar to ours in combining the product with the underlying culture”. There will be profiles on exhibiting brands, guided itineraries among the collections by theme and trend, online conversations with designers, artists, politicians, along with the mini-films of Olivier Saillard and much more.
With Pitti Connect, also the partnership with Unicredit is cemented, as it becomes the main sponsor of Pitti Immagine. Inaugurating the collaboration will be “The Sustainable Style” project, the leading event dedicated to sustainability with 13 young international talents that will recount their vision on the theme and their translation of it into their collections.
At the same time, since also the physical side of the fair is important, Pitti Immagine announces that it will host the high craftsmanship and high fashion events of Dolce & Gabbana from 2-3 September. The creations of this stylistic duo will be shown on the catwalk along with those of a selected group of Florentine artisans: an event that will be the first to revive the physical catwalk shows in Florence, the birthplace of fashion and craftsmanship, in a spirit of “courageousness, openness, and safety”.