Rent The Runway, the fashion rental platform that allows women to rent high-end gowns and accessories for a few days at a time, announced today at the Fast Company Innovation Festival that it will begin offering rentals for everyday clothing in early 2016.
“As opposed to thinking about ourselves as disrupting the fashion industry, we’re thinking about ourselves more broadly–about disrupting the closet and how you get dressed,” said Rent The Runway CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman from the Innovation Festival stage. “We’ve gone from a business where people were using us a few times or a few dozen times per year, to a business that you use in your daily life.”
She’s calling the new chapter of regular outfit rental “Airbnb for your closet.”
The move is a logical (and unsurprising) next step for the fashion brand, which already offers limited clothing rentals of items besides dresses on its website, as well as a suite of accessories.
Rent The Runway boasts a close connection with its female customers, who are now 5 million strong, Hyman said Thursday. Earlier this fall, the brand announced an accelerator for women-led startups that’s funded by Microsoft and UBS.
“We believe this is a new generation of women who want to be celebrated, treated, and acknowledged by the fact that these women are confident in themselves,” Hyman said. “We are trying to further the cause of women in the world.”
Hyman made the announcement while speaking on a panel with American Giant CEO and founder Bayard Winthrop and Fast Company senior editor Rob Brunner on building a business that matters.
When asked if she’d pursue men’s clothing rentals next, Hyman responded, “I think it’s extremely important to think of your company as a series of chapters.” RTR’s first chapter was building an intense logistical network and making renting “normal and cool.” Chapter two is getting every American woman on a subscription to fashion. While she’s not ruling men’s fashion out, the third chapter is still yet to be written.