Topshop has launched a startup programme in a bid to identify wearable technologies that could be of interest to its consumers, according to Fashion & Mash.
Through the accelerator, known as Top Pitch, the British fashion retailer is reportedly aiming to discover and co-develop prototypes that advance wearable technology in the fashion industry.
The Topshop initiative, being run in partnership with corporate innovation and early stage investor, L Marks, is the latest in a long line of startup accelerators that have been set up by older companies that are keen to stay relevant.
Barclays, Accenture, BBC Worldwide, and John Lewis have also set up similar initiatives. Such accelerator programmes typically offer startups office space, mentoring, and cash in exchange for exclusive access to their technology and talent.
In the case of Top Pitch, Topshop is offering the most promising team the chance to secure equity investment and the potential to see their product rolled out in Topshop stores.
“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, in a statement.
Stuart Marks, chairman of L Marks, added: “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.”