Are We Renting Every Day Clothes Now? Rent the Runway Says Yes

Illustration for article titled Are We Renting Every Day Clothes Now? Rent the Runway Says Yes

How badly do you want to look like an extra from The Devil Wears Prada? Would you like to wear designers like Jason Wu and Derek Lam on a daily basis but unfortunately have to eat and pay your rent? Well, Rent the Runway now offers everyday wear on loan. Do you want this? No, really, do you?


The company, which is mostly known for their special occasion gowns and cocktail dress rentals, has finally launched Unlimited, according to The Cut, allowing customers to rent day-to-day wear. Everything from tops to dresses are available for a monthly virtual closet fee of $139—or almost $1700 a year.

According to Fast Company, beta subscribers have been using the service for some time now; a Forbes article from 2014 said there were over 40,000 women waiting for the service.

Users can choose as few as three items at a time and keep them “as long as you want” with no limit on the number many pieces one can have. Unlimited enrollment includes “shipping, dry cleaning and insurance.” Earlier this week, American Apparel introduced a semi-similar program with Postmates, which will deliver their clothes to you in an hour. That all sounds great, but is this where the disposable fashion economy is shifting, renting entire wardrobes?

Image via Rent the Runway.



People looking at this through the lens of what you currently spend on new clothes: that’s not the point.

If you buy all of your clothes at Old Navy and are perfectly satisfied, great. Wonderful! Except Old Navy quality is terrible and the clothes don’t last.

The point of this service is for people who want quality but don’t have the cash on hand to pony up for, say, a $300 silk top or cashmere sweater or $200 Italian leather shoes. So you rent those items. $1700 a year to stock my closet with many thousands of dollars worth of quality clothing sounds awesome! I would never realistically be able to spend that much on clothes to own.

Plus, the service allows for you to partake in trends more as there’s not the chance that the beautiful $300 top you bought will be out of style in a few months and you’ll be out the entire amount. I could definitely see myself experimenting more knowing that I can return an item when I don’t like it anymore.