Rent the Runway (RTR) has quickly become an affordable and stylish solution to many women in need of outfitting themselves for a special event or fabulous vacation since its inception in 2009. The company, which began as a designer outfit rental company for women, has grown since, now offering clothes and accessories for all occasions as well as maternity options. Starting April 15, the company will be expanding its offerings once again with the launch of Rent the Runway Kids.
Any parent who has ever had to outfit their child for a special event or during one of those growth spurts that sees a child in a different size every few weeks knows how expensive children's clothes are. Rent the Runway Kids is hoping to help with that.
While the initial launch of the latest branch of the clothing rental company will feature just 60 styles from 13 designer brands including Chloé, Fendi, and Stella McCartney’s kids’ lines and will only offer styles for girls, Jenn Hyman, Rent the Runway’s founder and CEO told Vox that she plans on extending their offering as quickly as possible.
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Help us all, she thinks she's a #kidfluencer, and she wants you to know that starting April 16th, there will be girls' clothes available on @renttherunway. We had a blast at the carnival-themed launch event, where Lydia got the full mermaid hair-and-makeup treatment, ate cotton candy covered in Pop Rocks and had a jean jacket personalized with the word MAGIC instead of her name. (Because being extra comes naturally to her.) #lidsmcgids #rtrkids
Current sizes offered range from 3Y to 12Y simply because that is the age group covered by the current companies that Rent the Runway Kids have partnered with, but Hyman states they are hoping to expand “into everyday clothing for kids very shortly after our launch.”
Hyman confirms that the clothes that will be initially offered under the rental agreement are more for special occasions than for everyday wear, but any mother who has ever had to outfit their daughter for a family wedding or special party knows just how expensive it can be to buy something their child could potentially grow out of before they ever got a chance to wear it twice. The option of renting an outfit at a fraction of the cost of buying that can then be returned is appealing to many moms.
“We wanted to cover the ages where kids are moving around a lot, where they’re growing quickly, they’re going to holidays and parties and fun events, [but] it becomes both time-consuming and expensive for moms,” she said. “Keeping up with the cleaning and the upkeep [of those clothes] becomes a burden. We thought this would provide the most benefit for moms.”
Not only is this a cost-saving service for moms who are tired of spending money on outfits their children may only get to wear once, but Hyman tells Vogue that it's also a responsible way to shop for clothes that have a short shelf life due to how quickly children grow.
“I think that our members as well as the millennial generation are moms who care about the sustainability of their choices,” Hyman told the magazine. “This is a much better way to figure out getting dressed. Kids is the fastest growing part of the U.S. apparel market, but it’s also very wasteful. Just to be able to experience the fun and whimsy of all of these incredible brands and give kids the same Cinderella moment we’re giving their moms. I teach my daughter about the fact that she gets to wear it and twirl around and feel great, and that it’s not yours, you’re sharing it. I think that teaches a value set—it’s a shared closet.”
Inspired by her own children, the RTR Kids rental plans include the cost of dry cleaning and insurance, giving parents peace of mind if their child happens to get a stain on the clothing.
“Kids are messy," Hyman told Vox, "so I didn’t really want to invest in fun special occasion dresses for my daughter, because they might end up with spaghetti sauce on them two seconds later.”
The RTR Kids option comes with a variety of rental plans that will be extensions of Rent the Runway's Unlimited and Update plans, which range from $89 a month to $159 a month. For busy parents or parents who simply are looking for an economical and sustainable way to dress their children, Rent the Runway Kids is definitely something worth looking in to.