Topshop has chosen smart fabric startup The Crated as the winner of its first ever Top Pitch wearable tech bootcamp.
Madison Maxey's company, which produces fabrics with flexible, conductive ink wires in Brooklyn, now gets the chance to develop a "heated garment prototype" with the high street retailer's Design team.
When the competition was first announced, Topshop teased the prospect of both investment and actually stocking the final product but there's no confirmation of either yet. The Crated has also been looking into safety and posture functions for its smart garments so if all goes well Topshop could have a smart clothing line on its hands.
Sheena Sauvaire, Topshop's global marketing and comms director, gave a hint as to why Topshop went with its choice: "The Crated achieved the balance between style and function; its focus on textiles to create next generation smart clothing using heat technology is simple, with a clear purpose for the consumer."
The other two Top Pitch finalists were both connected accessories and also received a week of mentoring from the judges including Bethany Koby, of Technology Will Save Us, and fashion tech journalist Rachel Arthur as well as Topshop experts.
LA-based Luma Legacy is developing smart charm jewellery and Pins Collective is one we've featured before as a Crowdfund This pick for its digital badge that can be customised in a companion app. The Stockholm based startup plans to ship to 1,000 backers in February 2017. The chairman of L Marks, which ran the programme, said the two runners up will continue to get Topshop support.
"We're excited that big, high-street retailers like Topshop are seeing wearables as something that's more than a gimmick," said The Crated's Madison Maxey, "but as a true and useful consumer product sector. Being part of the Top Pitch programme allowed us to understand how Topshop is viewing the smart clothing market and how startups like ourselves can create tools and technologies that feed into that view."