|Rent the Runway's Bringing Access-over-Ownership to High-end Fashion
The “sharing economy” — it’s really about access over ownership — has moved from cab rides and vacation homes to luxury fashion.
Rent the Runway’s Unlimited service, which lets customers rent three items at one time for the cost of $139 a month, officially launched Wednesday after two years in beta. The service first tested with accessories and then expanded to dresses, ready-to-wear and work attire. Now, customers can subscribe to get products from 350 designers on a monthly basis.
This means that designer names like Derek Lam, Proenza Schouler and Giambattista Valli can live in Rent the Runway customers’ closets for an unlimited time (there is no due-back date, as long as the customer’s account is in good standing) at a cost deeply discounted from their retail price. So while one of Valli’s cap sleeve dresses retails for $2,700, through Rent the Runway, shoppers can rent the same dress and two other items for $139 a month.
“This is almost tantamount to when Netflix went from only renting out DVDs to streaming,” said Tony King, CEO of digital agency King & Partners. “It’s streaming a wardrobe.”
As Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman told Fashionista, “This movement of access over ownership is even stronger today. We’re renting basically everything in our lives.”
For a luxury brand, this model may feel like a sacrifice of the exclusivity and aspiration that comes with the hefty price tag and esteemed ownership of a designer item. But the sharing economy has changed consumer expectations — even for luxury fashion.
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This article was published on Digiday.com. A full link to the original piece is after the story.
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