Rent the Runway’s going exclusive for the first time.
This story first appeared in the November 3, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A group of seven designers created a 25-piece collection specifically for the Web site, which is celebrating its five-year anniversary.
This is a turnabout for the next-generation fashion company, which was met early on with skepticism from designers but has become an important buyer. Rent the Runway often buys more pieces than retailers to feed its growing base of fashion renters.
The collection will hit renttherunway.com today with designs from Christian Siriano, Lela Rose, Kenneth Jay Lane, Badgley Mischka, Monique Lhuillier, Marchesa Voyage and Oscar de la Renta. The 25-piece range features three to four styles from each, including Badgley Mischka’s gold sequin crop top and black tulle midi skirt, which rent for $45 and $75, respectively, as well as a red Monique Lhuillier silk faille high-low gown that rents for $400.
Cofounder and chief executive officer Jennifer Hyman said the Rent the Runway team worked with these designers to produce pieces that were “extremely editorial.”
“The intention is to enable women to get out of their fashion comfort zone and try new brands and experiment with styles that push them. You shouldn’t be renting the little black dress,” Hyman said of the cocktail dresses and gowns that are “far more dramatic” than what the site’s traditionally offered. “We want them all to be statement pieces.”
Rentals range from $20 for a Kenneth Jay Lane pearl bracelet to $450 for a Lela Rose twist-sleeve gown, with three styles from Christian Siriano that range from $100 to $175.
Hyman said renttherunway.com’s rentals would likely reach the equivalent of $600 million in retail value this year (this total does not include the Unlimited business, which rolled out its beta version in July). The 500-employee company has three freestanding doors, with a fourth opening in Washington, D.C., this month.