US fashion hire site Rent the Runway (RTR) has launched a subscription service called Unlimited that grants access to three premium pieces at any given time for a flat monthly fee. The move taps into the growing rental economy – 35% of 25- to 34-year-olds in the UK and US are highly responsive to renting (Westfield, 2016).
The concept targets customers who are keen for quick fixes of trend-led pieces that don’t require the same level of personal service as RTR’s core occasionwear business – where the need for a perfect fit necessitates personal stylists. Users can choose from 1,000+ designer brands including Marni, Vivienne Westwood and Versace for $139 (£97.30) per month, which includes shipping, cleaning and insurance. The only exclusions are bridal accessories and dresses that retail for $3,000+ (£2,132).
The system is managed via a dedicated section of RTR’s website and a mobile app. A personalised home screen shows the user what they are currently renting, along with recommended matching items. Pieces can be delivered and returned via mail, or picked up and dropped off at RTR’s physical stores in New York, Washington, Chicago and Las Vegas.
Renters can keep the items for as long as they like – if desired, they can even purchase them at a reduced price. Memberships are renewed automatically every month, but can be cancelled any time. Currently only available in the US, 40,000 women have already signed up to the service.