Our Story

Rent the Runway was co-founded in 2009 by Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss.
Here’s how it all started:
Red dress with sparkly gold sash

The ‘Aha’ Moment

Over Thanksgiving break from college, Jenn’s younger sister Becky showed off a $2,000 designer dress she bought for a wedding. This splurge was sending her into credit card debt!

Jenn wondered, wouldn’t it be so much smarter if we could rent designer items rather than purchase them? She returned to Harvard Business School and shared the idea with her friend, Jenny.
A notebook in a meeting

The Meeting that Changed Everything

The Meeting that Changed Everything

Jenn and Jenny wondered whether the fashion industry would be on board with their idea. They cold-emailed Diane von Furstenberg (why not start at the top?!) who agreed to a meeting.

The pair walked into Diane’s office and introduced themselves as the founders of Rent the Runway. While Diane was initially skeptical, she offered business advice and gave them each a good luck charm.
Two hanging dresses

Testing the Waters

Jenn, Jenny and Becky set up a pop-up shop on Havard’s campus where students could try on and rent dresses on the spot.

Seeing the excited reactions of their peers, it dawned on the team that renting could make women feel amazing, solidifying RTR’s mission to power women to feel their best every day.
The original Rent the Runway office

Rent the Runway is Born

Rent the Runway is Born

Over the course of a few months, Jenn and Jenny – along with a few core team members and a slew of interns – hustled to get the Rent the Runway website up and ready for business nationwide.

The site finally launched on November, 10th 2009.
A mock-up of The New York Times cover story

Accessories Now Available to Rent

Designer necklaces, earrings, handbags — everything you’d need to complete your look is now on RTR.
A mock-up of The New York Times cover story

Launched Plus Size Category

As a continuation of our mission to democratize designer fashion and give everyone the self-confidence that comes with looking and feeling your best, we launched an assortment of plus size items ranging from 14-22+.
A mock-up of The New York Times cover story

First Brick-And-Mortar Store

After experimenting with 'shop in shops' at Henri Bendel in New York and The Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, we opened our first-ever standalone store in the Flatiron building in New York City.
A mock-up of The New York Times cover story

Launch of Monthly Subscriptions

Getting dressed was truly changed forever with the introduction of our memberships, a first-of-its-kind clothing rental subscription that revolutionized how people experienced fashion.

To date, RTR continues to evolve its memberships to provide people with even more access and flexibility to a massive closet of designer styles.