Friday, April 20, 2012

Rent a porter...

Jennifer Hyman
by contributor Wendy Gordon

OK, men, put your hands over your ears and chant “la-la-la-la-la….”  This one’s for the ladies.  Ladies—we all know that one of life’s most exceedingly noticeable fashion faux pas is wearing the (gasp!!) same dress to more than one event.  Paparazzi are unforgiving…and so are the other guests.  Welcome to DC.

So here’s the conundrum: how does one maintain a closet full of designer fashions without a) going broke and b) having the closet space to accommodate it all without numerous visits to unload it all at the local consignment shop? 

Enter Rent the Runway—since 2009, the online closet full of premium designer duds from the casual to the formal and everything in between.  High price tags are available for rent at 4 day increments and at affordable prices—in all sizes, colors and as easy as access to a mailbox;  accessories too…and some available for purchase.  Brils! We’ll admit to using their services ourselves….over and over again….because we can.

On Thursday, Rent the Runway’s chief executive officer Jennifer Hyman was on hand to meet and greet at Georgetown’s Wink boutique.   We almost genuflected.  A Harvard grad, and named a member of Fortune Magazine’s marketing “Dream Team,” prior to Rent the Runway, Jennifer was the Director of Business Development at IMG where she focused on the creation of new media businesses for IMG's Fashion Division. 

She also ran an online advertising sales team at and was an in-house entrepreneur at Starwood Hotels, creating Starwood’s first wedding business which was recognized on the Oprah Winfrey Show for its innovation.  No underachiever here. 

So why DC?  “DC is filled with go-getter women that want to have it all—career, a love life, a social life,” Hyman says.  “They want to pick and choose what they have in their closet—what to rent and what to buy.”  

She went on to note that in today’s technology driven world, with the advent of social media, it becomes a challenge for women to not be seen in the same outfits over and over again, making a rental service such as Rent the Runway a go to spot for all of our fair gender to wear fabulous up to the minute designer creations without breaking the bank.

But it’s not only special occasions that are popular rental periods.  “We’ve had requests for everything from galas to costume parties.  Halloween is one of our busiest periods—we had a lot of repurposed clothing—a lot of Kim Kardashians this year.”

Hyman tells us that coming soon, RTR will add designer vintage clothing including Chanel and Givenchy to their already vast collections of well known and emerging designer couture.  Shut UP!  We’re almost giddy with THAT prospect.

Within only two years of business Rent the Runway has been honored with numerous recognitions, including Time Magazine’s “50 Best Websites of 2010,” Forbes’ “15 Names You Need to Know in 2011,” Fast Company’s “10 Most Innovative Fashion Companies of the Year” and Newsweek’s “Best Ways to Save in 2011.”  

Additionally, Jennifer and her co-founder were named as Inc. Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30,” Fashionista’s “Fashionista 50: The Most Influential People in New York Fashion,” and the New York Daily News “Fashion Week Top 20 People Cutting a Bold Figure in New York Fashion.”   You can rent your next look too, at  Never be seen in the same dress twice…and without breaking the bank or any hangers.  Hello, lover!