The scene at Pitti Uomo 97.

Pitti Immagine has canceled all the physical trade shows slated for September, including Pitti Uomo, which was expected to run Sept. 2 to 4.

According to a statement released on Thursday evening, the Florence-based fair organizer’s board “acknowledged the insufficient number of attendance confirmations and the persisting difficulties of companies,” therefore preferring to postpone all physical events to January and to focus on implementing and promoting the Pitti Connect digital platform, which will be available to exhibitors and industry operators starting in July.

“It is a painful but inevitable decision, imposed by the conditions of operational and economic difficulties the majority of manufacturing companies and distributing businesses — stores and department stores — are having,” said Pitti Immagine president Claudio Marenzi, also citing the uncertainties surrounding traveling through countries and quarantines, which are “obviously heavily influencing the plans of international buyers.”

The executive additionally addressed the “prolonged lack of guarantees on economic measures of support” by the Italian government and Europe among the elements impacting the decision of exhibitors to rethink their attendance at the trade shows.

“We believed in this until the end, we were determined to keep the role of Pitti shows as an essential tool of commercial promotion at the service of the Italian fashion industry and specifically of those small and medium-sized companies of excellence and artisanal ones we’ve always represented,” continued Marenzi, who also mentioned the “bitterness of not being able to contribute to Florence’s relaunch already this summer through the attractiveness of the shows.”

As reported, in April the fair organizer decided to reschedule the 98th edition of the Pitti Uomo — originally slated for June 16 to 19 — following Camera della Moda Italiana’s decision to postpone the upcoming Milan Men’s Fashion Week to September.

At the time, dates for the other shows operated by Pitti Immagine were also changed, including the children’s wear-focused Pitti Bimbo fair, that was expected to run Sept. 9 to 10. Other events now forgone include Pitti Filati, whose new dates had yet to be announced; Pitti Fragranze and Super, meant to run Sept. 11 to 13 and Sept. 24 to 27, respectively.

“As for the physical shows, all the Pitti Immagine [staff] enthusiastically worked for three months and we didn’t neglect anything: from the investments in sanitizing and ensuring the safety of the spaces and the designing of new, qualitative and inexpensive set ups, to facilitated affiliations with the hotels of the city,” said chief executive officer Raffaello Napoleone.

“Now we focus all our resources on the Pitti Connect digital events. We are very confident of our ability to provide companies with the real Pitti service, which can answer to their business, promotional and commercial needs, especially in this moment of the year,” he added.

Supported by the Italian Trade Agency ICE, Pitti Connect marks the evolution of Pitti Immagine’s existing digital platform. The advanced network and market tool intends to promote the shows and aid exhibitors to increase their visibility, connect them with buyers as well as support them in managing orders and hosting digital live presentations.