There are certain events in one’s life that call for a designer dress. One-upping everyone at your high-school reunion, attending your first big party with your fancy new boyfriend. You know how it goes. Now, if you can’t afford said designer dress, there is an answer: Rent The Runway. Just think of it as the fashionable love child of Netflix and Avelle.com.
Rent The Runway was started by Harvard Business School grads, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss after Ms Hyman watched her sister struggle over what to wear to an upcoming wedding. After several drafts of their business plan and a meeting with Diane Von Furstenberg, the girls put their plan into action and Rent The Runway was born.
How does it work? According to the website, there are three easy steps: love, wear, return. Step 1: Browse through their array of A-list designers and find a dress you love. Step 2: Schedule a delivery date and your dress will appear on your doorstep, in two different sizes (just to be safe). Step 3: Put your dress in our handy pre-paid package and drop in the nearest mailbox. They even take care of the dry cleaning!
The rentals run from $50 to $200 for a four-night loan (or, for an additional fee, you can keep the dress for eight days). There’s a $5 insurance charge on each dress you rent to cover anything that can be easily cleaned by a dry cleaner. If you rip that dress to shreds, however, you’ll be charged the full price of the dress.
For now, Rent the Runway only rents womenswear and designers include Badgley Mischka, Diane von Furstenberg, Hervé Leger and Proenza Schouler.
So what’s the catch? Of course, there is one. Rent the Runway is currently invite-only, which is unfortunate. They do appear to have a wait list so if you can’t get a referral, sign up and see what happens.