The Devil Wears (Rented) Prada: Condé Nast Adds Rent The Runway To Its Employee Perks

The publisher, a Rent the Runway investor, is subsidizing monthly subscriptions to the startup’s Unlimited service.

Statement dressing is part of the unofficial job description at a fashion institution like Condé Nast, publisher of Vanity Fair, Vogue, and other legendary magazines. Now a partnership with Rent the Runway is helping square that expectation with the reality of shopping on a media gig salary. For six months, Condé Nast employees will be able to subscribe to Rent the Runway’s Unlimited service for $90 per month, $49 less than the standard monthly price. Subscribers gain access to three rental items at a time, from ball gowns to blazers.


“Oftentimes women end up having to spend a lot more on fashion than men do,” says AJ Nicholas, vice president of brand marketing at the retail startup. “Men can get away with wearing the same suits and shirts over and over again, and spend less on dry cleaning. If you’re a woman you can’t have that uniform.”

Rent the Runway launched its “Unlimited” subscription service in March, after beta-testing for nearly a year.

“Subscription provides exponential options to the wardrobe that you already own,” Jennifer Hyman, cofounder and CEO, told Fast Company. She envisions that women would use Unlimited as a way to accent the basics in their existing wardrobes with fashion-forward pieces. So far, the most popular items have included a brown-leather Carven jacket, the PS1 handbag by Proenza Schouler, and Marissa Webb’s military-style canvas vest.

According to Nicholas, demand has been “really, really great,” driven in part by word of mouth at offices. After a woman at Condé Nast subscribed, for example, a number of her coworkers followed suit–sparking the idea for corporate subsidies.

Nicholas says discussions with other corporate partners are now in the works. No word yet on what happens if two Vogue colleagues wear the same rental outfit on the same day.

*Update: It’s important to note, as Bloomberg reporter @KimBhasin did on Twitter, that Condé Nast is an investor in Rent the Runway. The publisher led the startup’s $24.4 million Series C in 2013, and we have updated the dek of the story to reflect this context.


About the author

Staff writer Ainsley (O'Connell) Harris covers the business of technology with a focus on financial services and education. Follow her on Twitter at @ainsleyoc.