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Rent the Runway cuts homecoming costs

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Homecoming is around the corner, and junior Amanda Weerasooriya is one of the girls who haven’t found the perfect dress for the dance yet.

But instead of selling dresses that girls may wear only once, RenttheRunway.com provides a solution and allows girls to rent “haute couture” dresses for a fraction of the cost.

Working directly with over 100 designers, Rent the Runway, nicknamed “the Netflix for Dresses,” stocks current-season styles and makes them available to its invited members for four-day and eight-day rentals.

Girls don’t have to be envious of runway models or celebrity red carpet looks anymore. Rent the Runway allows them access to $2000 dresses for $50 to $200.

The dresses are mailed directly to the customer’s home and after the dress is worn, the customer sends it back with pre-paid shipping. Dry cleaning is included in the rental price, but damage insurance costs $5. If the customer completely destroys the dress, she is responsible for covering the full retail price.

Founded in 2009 by Harvard Business School graduates Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, the rental service is trying to make high-end fashion more accessible. Hyman got the idea after seeing her sister fret over her outfit for a wedding. She wanted to buy a new, expensive dress but couldn’t because of her modest salary, according to the website “Backstory.”

“I would consider using the site before dances like Homecoming because [such dances] happen every year. For bigger dances like Ring and Prom, I probably wouldn’t rent a dress.  You’re only in high school once,” Weerasooriya said.

“I would worry that if I rented a dress from the site, it wouldn’t arrive on time. If that happened, I probably wouldn’t order from the site again,” freshman Emily Streett said.

Though late arrivals may be a worry, Rent the Runway takes customer service precautions by using a reservation system to ensure that a customer can get a specific dress for the night she needs it.

The site also offers returns within 24 hours and will include an extra size of a dress at no additional cost.

Rent the Runway allows for girls of all financial foundations to dress like royalty.

Ellen Barker can be reached for comment at ebarker@jcpatriot.com.

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