Rent the Runway has launched a set of exclusive new clothing lines created by designers Derek Lam, Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu.
According to Business of Fashion, the new “Designer Collective” lines will use data gathered from the site’s customers so it can continuously adjust the items available to rent.
“It’s not happening in huge leaps and bounds, but Rent the Runway is definitely chipping away at market share from traditional retail,” said Adheer Bahulkar, partner and specialty retail lead at consultancy A.T. Kearney. “Big retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks may have to eventually give up margin in order to retain exclusivity with designers.”
Each line will feature 10 to 15 items, with the designers using the customer feedback data to decide how to develop each piece of clothing, according to Chief Merchant Officer Sarah Tam. All of the garments will be produced by Rent the Runway.
However, not every item will be a true original. In Prabal Gurung’s line, the garments will be based on patterns from the designer’s existing collection but available for Rent the Runway customers in custom colors or prints.
“A reality of our business is that we sit at a luxury price point, which isn’t accessible for everyone. Partnering with RTR allows us to connect with a younger customer,” Gurung said in an email statement. “We’re able to start a relationship with this client … and when she does rent the piece that really resonates with her, that she can’t bring herself to return, we’ve seen it convert, and that’s a beautiful success.”
Prices on the Collective lines will average at $350 per piece, with plans to add more designers by the end of the year, Tam said.
The launch comes after Blue Pool Capital, a financial company with the main role of investing for Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, the co-founders of Alibaba, invested $20 million in Rent the Runway last March.