The designer rental specialist said it is launching an Amazon Fashion storefront that will sell “pre-loved” looks and exclusive new items from its Design Collective.
The resale looks from the company’s rental business will include hundreds of styles from more than 35 brands, including Tory Sport, Rag & Bone, Tibi, Kate Spade New York and others with the selection spanning casual styles, workwear, date night styles and essentials like sweaters, tops, coats and denim.
The offering on Amazon will feature looks from Adam Lippes Collective, Derek Lam Collective, Esteban Cortazar Collective, Marina Moscone Collective, Ronny Kobo Collective, Jonathan Saunders Collective, Thakoon Collective and others. The Design Collective lets designers create limited-edition collections informed by Rent the Runway’s proprietary data.
Jenn Hyman, Rent the Runway’s cofounder and chief executive officer, described the strategic relationship as a boarder win for resale.
“It’s not the same as any old brand or any old retailer selling on Amazon because of the fact Amazon is helping fuel these tailwinds that normalize secondhand,” said Jenn Hyman, Rent the Runway’s cofounder and chief executive officer, in an interview with WWD.
This isn’t Amazon’s first foray into secondhand — its Shopbob business has The Pre-loved Edit and the e-commerce giant linked with What Goes Around Comes Around last year — but the collaboration with Rent the Runway extends the push significantly.
Since it was founded in 2009, Rent the Runway and Hyman have pioneered the rental category and have been working to use its early-mover status and relationship with brands and consumers to build the business.
The Design Collective is one example.
“Rent the Runway’s unique data set is that we actually get data back from every single customer 100 percent of the time,” Hyman said. “She’s returning her inventory to us and we require her to tell us about the fit of every single style and the quality of the style.”
Designers in the collective, in turn, use that data to fine tune.
“When we manufacture exclusive design product, it has a much higher probability on our platform of being a blockbuster and therefore designers like Derek Lam and Jason Wu and Thakoon and Peter Som are able to put these collections up on Amazon and have more chance that that collection will actually be a bestseller,” Hyman said.
While designers long shied away from selling on Amazon, some appear to be warming to the idea.
“We asked their permission before aligning with Amazon,” Hyman said, referring to the brands in Rent the Runway’s Design Collective. “Everyone here sees this as a benefit.”
Rent the Runway has long presented itself as a platform that designers can use to find new customers, with each renter carrying the potential to become a buyer of the brand down the line.
Adding Amazon to the mix with resale and the Design Collective broadens the pool of potential buyers significantly.
“At Amazon Fashion, we continually expand our assortment through strategic relationships with brands to inspire and delight our customers,” said Muge Erdirik Dogan, president of Amazon Fashion. “Rent the Runway’s collection continues to grow our offering in pre-loved and designer fashion.”
It’s a collaboration that brings something to both sides.
Rent the Runway has been pushing to build its business under the harsh glare of Wall Street following its IPO in 2021. And Amazon has been looking to build in fashion and is still looking for ways to crack the designer code.
Resale seems to be a growing part of the e-commerce giant’s solution.