11. 09. 2009
Get Couture on the Cheap
If you're a lover of haute couture but don't have the finances for that killer Dior gown, you're in luck. According to NYTimes.com, your fantasy frock is tantalizingly within your grasp. Thanks to the enterprising smarts of two women named Jennifer you can rent the your favorite designer's clothing for pennies of the cost of purchasing it outright.
Using a system similar to Gamefly or Netflix, Harvard Business School graduates, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss have created Rent the Runway. The site allows users to rent that showstopping outfit for four days. The dress is delivered directly to your doorstep, just like a Netflix movie. And just like the movie site, when the four day rental period is over, simply place the dress in the included prepaid envelope and send it back. No muss or fuss.
Featuring a tagline of "love. wear. return.", rentals run from $50-200, which includes dry cleaning fees. There's an additional $5 for outfit insurance -- just in case there's staining or structural damage to the clothing. If you totally wreck the dress, however, you will be charged the full retail cost so you'll have to be sure to handle the piece with serious kid gloves.
Renters can also put down an extra $25 to reserve a backup outfit in the even the main outfit doesn't fit. But that shouldn't be a problem, because Rent the Runway has a couple of safeguards in place including on-call stylists customers can contact to discuss issues like sizing, body type and material texture as well as allowing "returns within 24 hours for any reason and will include an extra size of a first dress at no additional cost." Your dream outfit arrives in a custom garment bag that includes double-sided tape, bra strap extenders and deodorant stain removers to prevent any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions.
Sporting 160 different styles, 20,000 women have signed up for the fledgling service so far. To give off the air of exclusivity, the site is invitation only, with no word on the acceptance criteria.
Rent the Runway seems like a cool concept that's long overdue. It will be interesting to watch the site's progress in regards to delivery and staying ahead of the fashion curve.