You'd be hard-pressed to find a fashion brand that hasn't at least toyed around with the idea of wearable tech — from all-American lifestyle companies like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Tory Burch, to cooler, more directional ones like Opening Ceremony and Gucci. But aside from a few exceptions (BaubleBar, for example), there hasn't been as much innovation in this space at the high street price point. Now, Topshop is setting out to change that.
On Wednesday, the British retailer announced the kickoff of its "Top Pitch" program in collaboration with investment partner L Marks. The four-week program invites international tech entrepreneurs and startups to apply for an intensive "boot camp" that will provide mentorship, presentations from experts and Topshop executives, and workshops on topics surrounding growing a business, developing hardware and bringing a product to market. The chosen teams will also have the chance to pitch their wearable tech product to Topshop and Sir Philip Green for investment consideration.
According to the Top Pitch website, the goal for entrants should be "to present a product that is stylish, functional and in-demand with the Topshop customer, at a price that's accessible." Interested parties don't need to have a prototype — their idea can be at the concept stage — and will be given office space at the program's hub in London to have a home base throughout the program's duration. The application is available now, and registration will be open through May 22.
In the past, the CFDA has encouraged its designers to get on board with the booming wearables market (which will reportedly be worth $34 billion by 2020), so we're curious to see if it will ever launch a similar tech-focused initiative on this side of the pond.