Target Shines a Spotlight on Fashion Tech

SYDNEY —Target Corp. is partnering with American fashion tech developer Anina “Net” Trepte on a “Future Jewelry” event at its Internet of Things concept store Target Open House in San Francisco.

On July 26, Trepte, the founder and chief executive officer of 360 Fashion Network, will stage a wearable-tech fashion show and panel discussion within the store.

According to a Target rep, the event is the first that Target has hosted in partnership with a vendor specifically about smart jewellery.

It coincides with the unveiling of a small range of Trepte’s products inside the store’s “Garage” area — an incubator space where early stage tech products are selected for hands-on testing, with the potential to subsequently roll out into wider retail.

To be displayed over August, the products include the new Totwoo Love Kit, a plug-and-play jewelry-maker kit that Trepte developed with Beijing-based smart jewelry company Totwoo, which allows fashion and jewelry designers to create smart jewelry without the need to code or solder; Totwoo’s new Love Bloom smart pendant; and 360Fashion Network’s new charging wallet and smart safety ring.

The Target rep declined to comment on any retail plans that Target has for the products.

A fashion model-turned-entrepreneur, Trepte recently returned to San Francisco for part of the year to establish a West Coast base, after spending a decade in Beijing.

In China, she developed a range of fashion-tech products and almost a dozen fashion-tech maker kits, covering everything from robotic dresses to LED handbags and smart gloves, which are due for release by the end of the year.

Powered by the Intel Curie module, Trepte’s smart-glove concept was originally developed with Intel for 162 dancers to wear for a spectacular performance during China’s 2017 CCTV Spring Festival Gala, a TV special that attracts more than a billion viewers.

Trepte’s other China projects included producing a 360 Fashion & Tech Zone within five consecutive China International Clothing & Accessories Fairs from 2011 to 2015. At the 2013 fair, her space including an augmented reality changing room developed for Chinese couturier Guo Pei.

“I think that the moment is right” said Trepte of the Target opportunity — adding that she originally moved to China out of sheer frustration over the constant knock-backs she says she received from the western fashion industry to her tech ideas 10 years ago.

“The Target Open House store shows that Target is already a leader,” she said. “How many big-box retailers have a special IoT store?”

Related stories

Soap & Glory Gets Muddy to Clean Up in Sales

AI by the Numbers

WWD List: 10 AI Companies Raising Millions

Get more from WWD: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter