Rent the Runway offers online shopping alternative

James Madison Freshman Carly Anderson needed a white dress for her sorority initiation. She initially had trouble finding the dress, but found luck after a suggestion to use up-and-coming company Rent the Runway.

“I needed a white dress and I was having trouble finding one in November because it was off-season, but I looked on Rent the Runway and they had multiple white dresses that I could choose from and I found one I loved,” Anderson said.

Anderson is just one of about 3 million consumers who use Rent the Runway, or RTR, according to Advertising freshman and RTR public relations representative Cara Gordon.

RTR, founded by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss in 2009, is known as the “Netflix for fashion,” according to Gordon.

Gordon is a part of the Runway Rep program, a network of 1,000 college girls committed to promoting RTR on 200 campuses nationwide. MSU has a team of 12 girls who meet weekly to discuss promotion, press and events such as fashion shows.

“Rent the Runway has a perfect look from over 160 designers for every special occasion,” she said. “The selection is larger than most other rental companies, it is more widely known and they send a back up size instead of just one dress like most companies to ensure a perfect fit.”

The company allows customers to rent a dress for four or eight days. The customer can then drop the dress back in a prepaid envelope in any mailbox, and RTR handles the dry cleaning.

“I had a great experience with Rent the Runway,” Anderson said. “I received many compliments on the dress during my initiation, and, after my event, I put it in their prepaid envelope and shipped it back to them with no problems.”

Anderson said RTR also sent her an extra size, just in case the initial size doesn’t fit, which she found convenient.

“I had bought other Lilly Pulitzer items in the past and thought I knew my size, but I ended up needing a size bigger in the dress I ordered because the strapless dresses run small,” she said. “If they hadn’t provided an extra size free of charge, then my order would not have fit properly.”

RTR held a fashion show at Club Rush on Nov. 7 called Refresh Your Look!

“We had student models, and the organization with the highest attendance to the show had all the profit from the show donated toward their philanthropy,” she said, adding that it was a huge success considering about 200 students showed up.

RTR has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Teen Vogue and many other newspapers and magazines. The company also will host a trunk show during the upcoming spring semester.

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