Couture for Rent

Rnway cutout2By Reubin Turner
Assistant City Editor

Baylor fashinonistas interested in revamping their look with high-end clothing will soon be introduced to a new unconventional way of doing so at a fraction of the price—renting.

Recommended by fashion magazine moguls like Teen Vogue, Glamour and The New Yorker, and even praised by the New York Times as a “Netflix for haute couture,” Rent the Runway is a New York–based retailer that gives cash-strapped college students access to high-end brand names. Starting this fall, a team of campus representatives of the company will host promotional events at Baylor.

The process is simple: shoppers browse the website for a dress or jewelry of their choosing, tailored to fit the occasion for which they are to attend. The dress can be rented for either a four-day or eight-day period. The website suggests that customers make their selection one or two days before the event.

After wearing the dress for the event, shoppers return the dress in a pre-paid package. Dry cleaning is provided by Rent the Runway upon return.

Fort Worth sophomore Chelsea Peterson said both the process and the idea seem convenient, especially for those who don’t wear formal dresses often.

“I still have my prom dress in my closet from my senior year which cost over $200,” Peterson said, explaining that she wished she had an opportunity like this then.

According to the website, Jennifer Hyman, co-founder of the fast-growing retailer, came up with the idea of the business while on a trip back home to New York City. She thought about it while watching her sister struggle through a classic dilemma many young women face: a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear.

After touching base with her close friend and co-founder of the retailer, Jennifer Fleiss, the two decided to take what they had learned as alumni of the Harvard Business School and launch a business.

Tyler junior Lauralee Stewart, the manager of Rent the Runway at Baylor, studies fashion design and found out about the retailer while reading Teen Vogue. Stewart says this is a chance to bridge the gap between fashion savvy college girls and many New York-based retailers.

“This is a great opportunity for the fashion world to reach out into the college scene,” Stewart said, commenting that many college women, who normally would not be able to afford such clothing, will now be able to look their absolute best in clothing for as much as 90 percent off regular price.

Throughout the semester, Stewart and the rest of the Rent the Runway representatives here at the university will plan various promotional events designed to increase awareness about the company. Fashion shows and girls’ nights out are a few of the events the representatives have planned for the year.

“During the promotions, we’ll likely ship in dresses to showcase to prospective renters,” Stewart said. “We want to make sure they’re familiar with the high caliber of products available.”
Stewart added that she’s excited to advertise this unique opportunity on campus.

“I think it will be a great benefit to those at Baylor who are in tune to the fashion world,” Stewart said.