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Nicola Mira
Jul 24, 2020
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Virtual trade show Pitti Connect online for over three months

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Jul 24, 2020

Trade show organiser Pitti Immagine has unveiled Pitti Connect, the ambitious new website created to take the place of Pitti Immagine’s summer events, which have all been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pitti Connect was launched on July 16, in parallel with the organiser's revamped website, pittimmagine.com. It will be the home for all Florentine fashion events until the end of October, featuring not just the exhibitors’ collections but also a plethora of content and special events, like the ‘Sustainable Style’ project, dedicated to eco-responsible fashion, whose guest of honour will be designer Glenn Martens with his Y/Project label.

Pitti Immagine has boosted its digital footprint with Pitti Connect - Pitti Immagine

During the summer and the early autumn, Pitti Connect will host Pitti Uomo 98 and Pitti Bimbo 91 (from July 16 to October 9), Pitti Filati 87 (from July 16 to October 30), Milanese event Super 16 and perfume show Fragranze 18 (from July 28 to October 30). Nearly 400 exhibitors have already joined the Pitti Connect ranks, among them Ben Sherman, Brunello Cucinelli and Karl Lagerfeld, while 68,000 buyers have signed up and been accredited to Pitti Uomo, 27,000 to childrenswear show Pitti Bimbo and 21,000 to yarns event Pitti Filati.
“Pitti Connect has not been developed in a rush, though its launch was brought forward due to the pandemic. We had been working for some time on the idea of setting up a powerful online engine to support our physical events. We have a nine-year digital experience with our virtual trade show, but we wanted to boost its programme, the idea being to translate in a digital dimension everything we do with physical shows,” said Agostino Poletto, general manager of Pitti Immagine, during a video conference on Monday July 20.

For the occasion, Pitti Immagine announced it has secured the backing of Italian bank Unicredit, which will be its main sponsor for three years. The organiser also confirmed the dates for the haute couture event to be staged by Dolce & Gabbana within Pitti Uomo, featuring the ‘Alta sartoria’ menswear show on September 2 at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, and the ‘Alta moda’ womenswear show on September 3 at Villa Bardini.
Pitti Immagine, which already had at its disposal the e-Pitti virtual show website and digital tools, has invested €1 million on the new digital project, at the same time strengthening its digital division, which has been headed by Andrea Seci for nearly a year. For Pitti Connect’s launch, the access fee for exhibitors has been set at €2,500, “whatever the size of the company.”
“It’s not simply a matter of selling space by the square metre, but also of featuring our exhibitors’ narratives, providing for them, besides commercial space, the atmosphere and all the parallel projects we usually offer,” said Poletto, who underlined that, for the first time, Pitti Immagine will be able to link up together on the web all its various shows at the same time.

Pitti Connect features the same sections of the Pitti Uomo physical show, like ‘The New Classic’, shown here - Pitti Immagine

Pitti Connect has been developed by web design agency The Big Now, and by Openmind for the technology side. A wealth of new functionalities have been added to the site, to make tapping business opportunities and establishing connections between exhibitors and buyers as easy as possible. Buyers can look for brands and specific products, filtering their searches by style, product category and country of origin. They can explore collections, access catalogues, download lookbooks, place orders, connect with exhibitors and stay in touch with them throughout the year, as well as consult the trend reports produced by Pitti Immagine and the website's own data.
“With Pitti Connect, we wanted to transfer into the virtual world the rich variety of elements that characterises our shows,” said Lapo Cianchi, Pitti Immagine’s director of communication and events. “We also invested extensively on quality editorial content, with reference to the special projects we usually have. The difference is that we had to plan for a duration of three and a half months, and not for merely four days, as with our physical events,” he added. Pitti Immagine will offer, alongside sales campaigns, also an intense programme with new initiatives on a daily basis.
One of them is ‘Walking Through’, which lets the audience set off on various design journeys to discover new menswear and childrenswear brands. Highsnobiety will act as production agency, portraying 20 top exhibitors. Olivier Saillard has created a series of short films entitled ‘Fashion Souvenirs’, dissecting the iconic looks of twenty male celebrities, like Yves Saint Laurent, Gary Cooper and Jack Kerouac.
The ‘Sustainable Style’ project puts centre stage 13 menswear designers, who will explain their ground-breaking approach to sustainable development. For the occasion, Y/Project will unveil its new sustainable line, Evergreen, on July 24. Pitti Immagine has also forged partnerships with media organisations the world over to boost traffic on the Pitti Connect site.

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