Renowned retailer Topshop has partnered with the innovative investment team at L Marks to create a program designed to help up-and-coming technology companies. Named Top Pitch, Topshop’s program will promote the use of technology in the world of fashion, which will come in the form of creating functioning prototypes that will lead to further endeavors of products like “smart” accessories and other wearable technology. So essentially, Topshop will be looking to make a new meaning for “fashion-forward”; a meaning that shows fashion in a more futuristic sense, in some regards.
The application for this program is on its own website, toppitch.co, and any start-up tech company is welcome to fill it out; the deadline is on May 22. Companies that are selected will be able to participate in a digital program that will last four weeks, where they will be given advice, guidance, and mentorship from some top names in the industry. Such mentors include names like Fashion & Mash founder Rachel Arthur, Technology Will Save Us cofounder and CEO Bethany Koby, and Topshop fashion director Maddy Evans, among others.
Each company will come forth with one product, which will be presented to Sir Philip Green, the owner of Topshop. Whoever comes out as the winner will be given the opportunity to have their product produced and used by Topshop. In an interview with WWD, Sheena Sauvaire, Topshop’s global marketing and communications director, revealed the reasoning behind this program, and what meaning technology and innovation holds for the retailer.
“Topshop has long supported emerging talent in creative industries and this project serves to further this aim,” Sauvaire said. ” 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 products at accessible prices for our fashion-savvy customer.”
This program isn’t totally out of the blue, either, as WWD conducted an interview with Green last year, where he expressed his interest in investment when it came to start-up tech companies. “Every single day, there are people looking to reinvent, in some way, the consumer experience. You cannot sit idly by. People are always going to go shopping – they like going to stores, they like shopping, but there are other things that are happening that you’ve got to be up to speed with. We’ve got to permanently keep progressing, improving,” he said, continuing on to also talk about keeping a close eye on “consumer-related online tech. It’s a place we’ve got to be in, it’s something we need to be doing. We have got to be a part of that next generation.”
Photo courtesy of Topshop