Wearable Tech May Be Coming Soon To A Topshop Near You

Photo: Courtesy of Topshop.
Topshop is issuing an open call for wearable tech entrepreneurs to submit their ideas to a new program, dubbed Top Pitch, that aims to find the next big thing in smart fashion — and keep it at an affordable price, Forbes reports.

The British fast-fashion brand (along with corporate innovation specialist L Marks) will host smart-fashion focused startups as part of the program, offering mentorship and development to help to get their ideas off the ground. The goal: to find and co-develop concepts for wearables that marry fashion with function, while maintaining "a democratic approach to pricing," according to a press release.

Participants will convene in a four-week bootcamp in central London this summer, fine-tuning their pitches with the help of mentors like Maddy Evans (Topshop's fashion director), Bethany Koby (cofounder and CEO of Technology Will Save Us), and Rachel Arthur (journalist and founder of Fashion & Mash). The program itself is free — and it doesn't offer funding to its participants. Instead of cash, the program promises "the opportunity to explore further investment." At the end of the month, each startup will present its ideas to Sir Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Topshop's parent company, Arcadia Group; the winning product may end up on Topshop shelves in the future.

Topshop has been making moves in the wearables field recently. Last year, Green expressed his interest in investing in companies that are innovating in the category, telling WWD: "Every single day, there are people looking to reinvent, in some way, the consumer experience. You cannot sit idly by." In November, the retailer introduced a range of accessories — including stickers, key chains, and bracelets — enabled with bPay technology, which allows for contactless payments, in the U.K., Telegraph reported.

The new program is slated to expand the scope of what wearable tech means in the Topshop universe: "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," Sheena Sauvaire, the retailer's global marketing and communications director, said in a statement.

Interested in throwing your cutting-edge wearable tech concept in the ring? Applications are open now through May 22, with the program set to kick off on June 13.

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