The Uber of clothes

The Uber of clothes

Rent the Runway is a New York-based subscription fashion service that powers women to rent designer styles, handbags and jewelry for everyday and occasion.

At about 4:30am the first of thousands of black garment bags arrive by truck at a vast warehouse fewer than ten miles from Lower Manhattan.

Rent the Runway is an online service that provides designer dress and accessory rentals.

The bags brim over with designer dresses and other trendy clothing and accessories. Workers begin inspecting the garments. A billowy, patterned blouse smells a bit musky. A floor-length red gown has a tear. A stain sullies the floral pattern of a silk sundress.

Turnaround is quick. The blouse is sent to washing machines, the gown goes to one of the 75 seamstresses lined up next to a wall of thread, zippers, buttons and other adornments in every imaginable color, and the silk dress makes its way to the “spotters”: experts who know how to get tough stains out of delicate fabrics.

Most items are in and out of the warehouse in less than a day.

Such efficiency is essential for Rent the Runway (RTR), a New York- based, privately-owned startup with a value of almost $800m that rents out clothes, handbags and jewelry.

Hustle day in & day out

Its dry-cleaning warehouse is the world’s biggest, processing 2,000 items per hour. RTR started with formal dresses that women rented for weddings and other events.

Now nearly three-quarters of its 9m clients across America use it for work clothes.

For $159 a month, the company’s “unlimited” and most expensive plan, subscribers can rent four items at any one time.

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Oso Oseguera
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