Luxury apparel rental business Rent the Runway (RTR) is opening up a physical location in San Francisco’s downtown Neiman Marcus this week.
The seven-year-old service’s Neiman Marcus shop will host a rotating selection of clothing items and accessories from more than 400 designers, including Diane von Furstenberg, Derek Lam, Jason Wu and Marni, the company’s cofounder and CEO Jennifer Hyman told Women’s Wear Daily.
“It competes with fast fashion, which is really just unlimited variety, and that is the same thing that we are offering,” she said. Hyman confirmed plans to open additional Neiman Marcus Rent the Runway stores in 2017.
Many of the brands that Rent the Runway offers are also Neiman Marcus merchants, which may open the door for the retailer to attract a younger demographic of customers who typically opt to discover designer pieces through rental.
“We love the idea,” said Jim Gold, Neiman Marcus’ president and chief merchandising officer. “It’s an opportunity to bring in new customers who don’t shop with Neiman Marcus. It’s mutually beneficial.”
“We love that RTR gives women an opportunity to try brands they haven’t tried before, and there’s a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on that,” Gold added. “We love the idea of being able to complement the rentals with a much deeper experience — to talk about other needs and create long-term relationships.”
Earlier this year, Rent the Runway launched an Unlimited rental program. The apparel subscription service allows shoppers to rent three articles of clothing for $139 per month or three every month for $1,700 per year.
Hyman told Re/code that there are plenty of women out there who would rather spend the money on an Unlimited membership instead of constantly trudging back to the long lines and cramped fitting rooms of the nearest H&M or Zara, all the while trying to keep up with the latest styles.