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Topshop Launches Program to Foster Wearable Technology Entrepreneurs

The convergence of fashion and technology doesn’t end at foot of the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. High street giant Topshop has joined forces with early-stage investment company L Marks to launch Top Pitch, an initiative designed to foster innovators in wearable technology.

Through Top Pitch, entrepreneurs and start-ups from around the world are invited to apply for a “boot camp” program created by Topshop and L Marks. Participants on teams will be challenged to present a product that is stylish, functional and in-demand with the Topshop customer and price point.

The Top Pitch program, split into four one-week sprints, will provide intensive coaching on how to bring their product to market, as well as keynote presentations, talks and guidance from a panel of expert mentors, including Arcadia Group Chairman Sir Philip Green. Participants will be granted access to workshops and desk space in the London-based Top Pitch hub, and will have an opportunity to pitch their product to the trendy retailer.

“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, Topshop global marketing and communications director, in a statement.
Eligible applicants should have a product at any stage of development and be prepared to alter their product based on what is learned through the program. Top Pitch does not provide any funding, however, entrepreneurs may explore further investments throughout the program.

In 2014, L Marks was tapped by Topshop high street rival John Lewis to help launch its startup accelerator, JLAB. The program, designed to fast track the growth of startup companies in the retail space, is in its third year. For JLAB 2016, the program is seeking technology products for children, as well as innovation in self-service shopping and in the health and well-being category.