Topshop is looking for the next big thing in wearable technology

Topshop, the British multinational fashion retailer of clothing, shoes, makeup and accessories, is looking to bring technology-enabled fashion products to its consumers with the launch of a start-up program, the Top Pitch initiative.

The company started out as a brand extension of the department store Peter Robinson in the 1960s, but has since opened 500 shops worldwide. of which some 300 are in the UK. It also has online operations in a number of its markets.

The initiative invites entrepreneurs and start-ups from around the world to apply for a month long ‘bootcamp’ programme created by Topshop and its investment partner L Marks. The ultimate aim is to discover and co-develop prototypes that move wearable technology further into the fashion arena.

Wearable tech has been on the brink of commercial success for the past few years, but products have yet to be picked up by the high street. While the fashion industry has been toying with wearable technology, we are yet to see anything that has truly appealed to a mass audience.

“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,” said Sheena Sauvaire, global marketing and communications director at Topshop.

To give teams the best preparation for their pitch, each start-up will be invited to join an intensive Top Pitch bootcamp. Split into four one-week sprints, the bootcamp will provide access to Topshop through keynote presentations, talks and guidance from a group of expert mentors.

“Top Pitch is such a great opportunity for entrepreneurs working on a wearable technology product. When presenting to buyers, it is always better to know them really well. What better way is there to learn about Topshop than work in collaboration with them for four weeks, developing your brand and strategy as well as the direction your product will take.” added Stuart Marks, chairman of L Marks.

Topshop is looking for pre-retail entrepreneurs and start-ups from anywhere around the world. At the end of the program, the most promising team will be awarded the chance to see their product in Topshop stores.

For further information, or if you think you have what it takes, head over to their website. The closing date for applications is May 22, 2016.

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