Rent A Runway Ensemble At Bargain Prices
Looking like a million bucks doesn't have to be as expensive, thanks to a website and a fashion library that allow women to rent designer dresses for a fraction of the retail prices. NY1's Money Matters reporter Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
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Fashion Week may cause you to drool over designer duds, but getting your hands on the hottest labels could take a toll on your credit card.
That was before Jennifer Hyman stumbled upon an interesting idea while rummaging through her sister's very crowded closet.
"She was about to go to yet another wedding, where she was buying yet another dress that she knew she'd only wear once, and I thought, 'This doesn't make sense,'" says Hyman.
So Hyman contacted her friend, Jenny Fleiss, and last autumn the two fashionistas launched "Rent The Runway," a website the founders describe as "Netflix for dresses."
"We're renting dresses to girls over the Internet," says Fleiss. "A woman can log onto our site, pick out her dream dress and wear it to a special occasion. And then she just pops it in a mailbox in a pre-stamped return envelope to return it to us."
While a designer dress can easily cost $1,500, renters can save roughly 90 percent off its retail value.
"They start at about $500 retail and they go up to about $3,000 retail price, and we rent them for starting $50, so it's all about 10 percent of the retail value," says Fleiss.
If your needs are more red carpet, there's the Albright Fashion Library, which outfits clients from head to toe.
"This is the dress that Anne Hathaway wore to the Oscars in 2008. This would probably retail cost about $20,000," says Marina Albright of the Albright Fashion Library.
The library also has a shoe room that would make Carrie Bradshaw faint.
"Sometimes we outfit celebrities, sometimes we outfit just normal, everyday people going to their daughter's wedding or somebody going to a black-tie event with their husband," says Albright. "When they come in here, all they want is to look like a million dollars."
Rental rates for a complete ensemble start at $1,000, but in reality, buying the shoes alone would probably cost about that much.
As the women behind both companies point out, the rental price, be it $50 or $1,000, gets a lot more than the dress.
"Try a color you don't normally wear. Try a silhouette that's different for you, a new trend, because there's no risk here," says Hyman. "So, go out, have fun, walk around with confidence."
"It's always great to walk out and have that kind of 'I'm going to be a showstopper tonight' [feeling]," says Albright. "There's no price tag for that."