To Rent or Not to Rent?


To Rent or Not to Rent?

Want a designer dress without designer prices? Want a new designer dress for each of your upcoming events? Well, look no further than Rent the Runway. Rent the Runway is like Netflix for dresses, offering the opportunity to rent designer dresses for a fraction of their retail value.

Rent the Runway was founded and launched this past fall by Harvard Business School graduates Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss. The idea came to them after talking to fashionable friends who lacked the means to wear the designs they coveted. They saw a market of young women who love high fashion, but can’t necessarily afford the price tags. They also were concerned for the designers themselves, who would be incapable of building a brand if their target demographic was unable to reach their designs.

Rent the Runway works in three basic steps which they refer to on their website,, 1. Love 2. Wear 3. Return. Basically, you browse the website, find a dress you love, schedule a delivery that will arrive in two sizes, and then return the dress by placing it in a pre-paid package. RTR makes it so easy for customers that renting is not only cheaper, but also easier than buying an actual dress. Rentals run from about $50- $200 and last for four days, but can be extended for longer. Don’t like the dress? Return right away and you won’t be charged for the rental.

Rent the Runway has been featured in several publications, ranging from the NY Times to US Weekly. It is easy to see the appeal of Rent the Runway in the current economic situation. Fashionistas unwilling to let their wardrobes suffer are turning to Rent the Runway in droves to ensure that they still turn heads in the most cutting edge designs.

Upenn has not escaped the RTR radar. Part of RTR’s marketing strategy is having representatives at various colleges and universities nationwide to promote the start- up company. UPenn representatives have been in touch with the RTR team with plans for fashion shows and trunk shows, where girls will be able to rent on-site. Look for these events in the upcoming spring, just in time for spring formals!

Become a member at to start renting dresses!

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Melissa Goldstein

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