Rent the Runway hits campus


Courtesy of Miranda Pollitt

Sarah Curran, junior in philosophy, wore a blue and red embroidered Lilly Pulitzer dress at a Rent the Runway trunk show event held at Portobello Road in October. 

Tedi Mathis

With award show season in full swing, stars have been strutting down the red carpet in dresses that may cost more than a year’s tuition — with the help of Rent the Runway, rocking a dress by a big-name designer becomes more affordable. 

Rent the Runway is a website that allows women to rent dresses from top designers. These designers include Lilly Pulitzer, Nanette Lepore, Oscar de la Renta and many more. There are also representatives for the site on Iowa State’s campus to make the process easier.

“It’s really, really simple. You just click on the dresses,” said Abby Horrie, Rent the Runway representative on campus and freshman in apparel, merchandising and design.

The website, which is free to join as a student, offers dresses at a range of prices that can be rented for up to eight days.

“You don’t just get one dress, you get two dresses,” said Rachel Welsh, public relations intern for Rent the Runway, to those who fear a rented dress selected online not fitting properly.

If you’re between sizes or unsure, you can get both. The website also has measurement charts for dresses to get a general idea of the correct size and fit.

If price is a concern, Horrie recommended keeping an eye on the website for coupons and deals. For first-time renters, there is also a $25 discount.

Once selecting a dress from Rent the Runway, the dress will arrive two days prior to the date specified during the renting process online. It will come with a postage-paid return envelope.

Rent the Runway dry-cleans their own dresses, so there is no need to worry about washing the garments before returning.

“I think a lot of people don’t want to do it because they think it’s this process,” Welsh said about people who have never used the Rent the Runway service.

On top of the free shipping and dry-cleaning, Welsh said the dresses come with a goodie bag to accompany the dress, including items such as nail polish for the renter.

Since this is the first year with representatives from the site on Iowa State’s campus, Horrie said they are still trying to get the word out about their services through social media and events such as trunk shows in the Ames area.

Horrie said Rent the Runway is more well-known in other states, especially in the south. 

“Their trunk shows and fashion shows are huge,” Horrie said. “[At] our trunk show we maybe had 10 people come.”

Despite having a smaller presence on the Iowa State campus, compared to other schools who have been working with Rent the Runway longer, Horrie said they are looking to grow by advertising more through social media and posters around campus.