In defense of Rent The Runway's $139 / month service

Okay, listen.

I'm not going to spend $140 per month for access to three designer items at a time.

But I'd absolutely spend $140 per month for access to, say, 20 non-designer pieces at a time.

I don't need (or frankly want) to wear See by Chloe, Marni, and Tory Burch. But yeah, I'd love a rotating closet of mid-market, good quality clothes. 

And that's why I'm really excited about Rent the Runway's new product, confusingly named Unlimited. It's not actually unlimited. It's three pieces at a time. Name it something else, RTR.


4 reasons I'm excited about a product I can't afford


1)The sharing economy is something I can get behind.

I'm a proponent for Airbnb above hotels, Uber (et al) above taxis. The vast majority of my sharing economy experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.

2) Downmarket options will (hopefully) follow suit.

Companies in the sharing economy space sometimes start with a version for the affluent (a la Uber black cars --> UberX), then expand downmarket.

I don't know if Rent the Runway will be the company to come out with a cheaper option for rentable fashion, but I hope someone does. Soon. Plz?

3) Capsule wardrobe, but so much better.

Particularly as a nomad. I’m so frustrated by the lack of choice in my suitcase wardrobe and am sick of 90% of my outfits after a mere 53 days of nomading. I'd love to package it all up, ship it off to a warehouse, and get a box of different shit.

Did I mention that I miss online shopping?

Nomads see things like clothing as disposable. I'm not that attached to anything in my suitcase (except maybe my Halogen bomber jacket - I love that stupid bomber jacket).

Which leads me to my next point...

4) It's a better way to do "fast fashion."

Google "fast fashion" and you'll find a gajillion stories about how downmarket stores like Forever 21 are destroying the world through irresponsible consumerism. This concept redefines ‘disposable’ fast-fashion because it isn’t disposed of, it’s re-worn. A shirt doesn't wear out before you're bored of it. A skirt isn't sent to the landfill when you gain five pounds - it's shipped to a new lucky owner, and you get a different skirt.

Done well, rentable fashion might actually improve our state of consumption, particularly if the company focuses on quality over quantity.

Note: I said better, not best, I know there's still a carbon footprint issue here.


What do you think?

Header image: Jay Mantri.

Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email, or else read more from the blog.