I remember prom dress shopping with my mom in San Francisco my senior year. We were in the Westfield Mall and Isaw the Hervé Léger store in the corner of my eye. I knew, of course, I could never actually afford to wear one of these thousand dollar threads, but I tried some on anyways for the fun of it. They were my favorite dresses of the whole trip: flattering, unique, and glamorous. Even when I bought my actual dress, I couldn’t help but long for my dream dress.
If only I had know about Rent the Runway, a company who has made it possible for women to rent high-end designer apparel and accessories on a 4 to 8 day basis. Founded by two Harvard Law School graduates in 2009, Rent the Runway is a membership based website that offers over 25,000 dresses and accessories from over 165 designers. The website itself has lookbooks for Halloween, fall weddings, cocktail parties, career moments, and even college. Rental prices are usually about 10-20% of the original retail price. The retailer has adopted an interesting and innovative approach to online shopping—no longer do women have to guess that the dress on the size 0 model will look just the same on them. Rent the runway has created a way for women to see how a certain dress will look like on a body type similar to their own. Users can upload pictures of themselves in the dress they rented, also giving their height, age, and bust size; other shoppers can perform ‘women-like-me’ searches, askquestions about the garment, and read reviews of the product. Of course, still provided is a picture of a model with the garment on, but this new search method uses real women to market high fashion and also gives a dose of reality to the online shopping process.
Rent the Runway is not only an online company; it has college representatives on over 150 campuses across the US, one of them being UCSB. On November 8th, Rent the Runway will have it’s first ever trunk show at the Delta Gamma house (6509 Picasso). The Facebook event explains that girls who are interested should go online, sign up for Rent the Runway, browse through dresses and pick their favorite pieces, then post their picks with their sizes on the event wall. On the day of the trunk show, their dresses will be waiting for them. Rent the Runway includes dry-cleaning in the rental price and also provides pre-paid return envelopes for the pieces. The trunk show prices are discounted from the regular website prices, a rare opportunity to have “the perfect dresses for sorority/fraternity date parties, downtown Thursdays, and all of life's special occasions!” If you are interested in the trunk show, attend the event on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/540571042626265/) and sign up online at http://www.renttherunway.com/ucsb