Sponsor Spotlight: Rent the Runway
With two days left in our Most Stylish Campus Competition, we want to spotlight one of our amazing partners, Rent the Runway, who is donating a gift card to the top 50 Most Stylish Students in America!! Stylitics caught up with Jenn, co-founder of Rent the Runway, to get the low down on what’s new in the Rent the Runway closet, her take on the season’s trends, and how Rent the Runway was started.
What was your inspiration for creating Rent the Runway?
In 2007, Jenny and I met as sectionmates at Harvard Business School, where over frequent girls’ nights, we became fast friends. During a trip home for Thanksgiving, I watched my sister Becky struggle with a “closet full of clothes and nothing to wear” moment. Becky had an upcoming wedding and wanted something gorgeous to wear, but her modest salary meant that everything high-end was out of reach. What if, I thought, the Becky’s of this world could have access to their dream closet and a new dress for every occasion? When I returned to school Jenny and I met for lunch, and I shared Becky’s dilemma. As business school students, we started working on building the business immediately. Jenny and I had a rule from the very beginning of Rent the Runway to never write a business plan because we think that is a waste of time. In our opinions, starting a business was going to be a series of iterative tests in the marketplace with each test eliminating some of the risks. We held a pop-up rental shop in an undergrad dorm at Harvard to garner initial interest in the idea. We purchased dresses at retail (in our sizes in case it did not work out!) and watched girls twirl around in the mirror and share comments like “How hot do I look!” After several focus groups with thousands of women, along with formative meetings with top designers and retailers, we launched Rent the Runway in November of 2009.
How do you think technology is changing the way we interact with fashion?
Technology is the backbone of our entire company. We are bringing a new customer behavior online and changing the way women think about their closet, converting those 30-40 percent of purchases that women only wear once into rentals where they can experiment with new trends and new designers around all of the occasions in their life.
If you could raid Rent the Runway’s closet, which three items would you take?
The new Decades for Rent the Runway vintage Chanel, more vintage Chanel, and more vintage Chanel.
What trends are you expecting to be the most popular for Spring?
For spring 2012, yellow or orange, as well as statement bags, will be everywhere. Day-to-night maxi dresses will be the go-to for cocktail feits.
Photo via Rent the Runway.
How would you describe your personal style?
I am historically drawn to more sophisticated, feminine styles or I’ll channel the large part of me that wishes I was in a rock band and whip out my leather leggings. Matthew Williamson, Haute Hippie, Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung and Narciso Rodriquez are just some of my favorites.
Thanks so much, Jenn! With two days to go in the Most Stylish Student Contest, it’s anybody’s game, so make your Style Profile here to enter. The 50 Most Stylish Students will receive a prize package including a gift card from Rent the Runway and a feature in HerCampus magazine!