Topshop wants to help developers create wearable technology with a fashionable bent, and the company is now offering an opportunity for startups to pitch and develop new products.
Wearables is a growing product category, but it has yet to make serious inroads into fashion, or high street, as the UK retailer references on the Top Pitch website.
The program is focused on finding fashionable smart products and prototypes. Technology innovators can apply through May 22. Those selected to move forward will take part in a four-week program to develop their ideas.
Participants will be assigned mentors and given access to Topshop's executive team.
"Top Pitch challenges wearable tech entrepreneurs to present a product that is stylish, functional and in-demand with the Topshop customer, at a price that's accessible," according to the company. "We're inviting entrepreneurs and start-ups from around the world to apply for a 'bootcamp' program created by Topshop and investment partner L Marks, with intensive coaching on how to bring your product to market and the chance to pitch to Topshop and (owner) Sir Philip Green."
"Topshop has long supported emerging talent in creative industries and this project serves to further this aim," Sheena Sauvaire, Topshop's global marketing and communications director, told Women's Wear Daily. "As a brand we champion new platforms of innovation and we see wearable technology as an exciting area of further exploration. The merge of style and function has yet to have been seen in a true consumer-ready sense and our aim is to discover new-to-market, highly desirable product at accessible prices for our fashion-savvy customer."
Topshop joins a growing list of retailers, including Walmart and Target, that are investing in innovation through new technology centers, programs and pitch sessions.
- see the Top Pitch website
- see this Women's Wear Daily story (tiered subscription)