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Rent the Runway launches data-driven clothing line

Luxury clothing rental platform Rent the Runway is leveraging years worth of consumer feedback to launch a range of new clothing lines driven by data.

The “Designer Collective” lines will feature 10-15 items of clothing and be developed alongside prominent US-based designers, such as Jason Wu, Derek Lam and Prabal Gurung, with prices averaging on $350.

Rent the Runway’s business model allows customers to rent expensive designer pieces for a fraction of the retail value. Once clothing is returned, customers are asked to fill out surveys about their fit and style preferences.

“We have millions of data points that our customers provide about wear rate, where they’re wearing the clothes, fit by style and sizes, demand by hem line, sleeve length, demand by geo region etc, and all the feedback is funnelled to our designers,” a spokesperson for the company told FashionUnited.

For designers, this means access to an entirely new audience. “A reality of our business is that we sit at a luxury price point, which isn’t accessible for everyone. Partnering with RTR allows us to connect with a younger customer,” designer Prabal Gurung told BoF. “We’re able to start a relationship with this client … and when she does rent the piece that really resonates with her, that she can’t bring herself to return, we’ve seen it convert, and that’s a beautiful success.”

While some designs will be developed from scratch, others will simply feature adjustments exclusive to the platform’s customers. For example, Gurung’s first line will be entirely based on his main collection, but in colors and prints that respond to RTR’s customer feedback.

Speaking at NRF’s Big Show earlier this month, Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway’s co-founder and CEO, said: “Data is such a fundamental piece of what we do. We’re exchanging a massive amount of it [with designers] on how their products are being worn, what events they’re being worn to, and how their products or dresses last over time,” she says, adding that this helps brands iterate their designs to better suit customer wants and needs. “The data we have in renting clothing over time is so important to the manufacturing of clothes.”

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Hugo Boss: Forget tier-2 stores, it’s all about digital


You know times are tough when high-end brands rein-in their store opening plans and start talking up their web strategies instead. The latest to do so? Hugo Boss.

Because the Chinese and US markets will remain challenging next year, the only locations to get shiny new stores will be top global ones. Meanwhile, the digital business, which is more profitable, will be expanded faster than physical stores. It makes good business sense. The luxury sector lags its middle- and mass-market peers in maximising digital, even though the high-spending customer is just as digitally focused as those more driven by price.

Hugo Boss, which boasts Jason Wu as its womenswear designer, will still open stores (about 10-15 a year rather than the 20 it has averaged in the last half-decade) but expects tepid sales growth next year as tough times in China and the strong dollar hurt turnover into two of its key markets.

This places even more of a focus on a good digital strategy. CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs said the second-tier regional hubs that luxury has spread into over the past decade “will lose interest for our industry long-term,” as e-commerce becomes more prominent.

Hugo Boss’s e-sales are currently growing at double-digit rates and Lahrs expects this to continue.

To achieve it, the company will continue to make major investments in its online ops with e-commerce logistics going in-house next year and the entire business being better integrated. Yes, luxury is finally realising that omnichannel is key.

That will mean simple-but-attractive features like collect (and return) in-store, something mass-market retailers have found beneficial for some time. At the moment, Hugo Boss offers several delivery options but ‘express’ costs just shy of £20 and takes one-to-two days. I’ll be watching this one with interest.

This post first appeared on, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

digital snippets e-commerce film social media technology Uncategorized

Digital snippets: NYFW, F-commerce, Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Marni, Nike

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

  • Jason Wu, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors prove most “talked” about in online space during NYFW [WWD]
  • Retailers shut their Facebook stores; is this the end of F-commerce? [Mashable]
  • Neiman Marcus launches social media challenge for Christian Louboutin’s 20th anniversary [Luxury Daily]
  • Louis Vuitton sets short film series on major cities, starting with Hong Kong (as pictured) [WWD]
  • Nike introduces Nike+ basketball sneaker with high-tech sensors [AllThingsD]
  • Sølve Sundsbø’s The Ever Changing Face of Beauty installation becomes interactive iPad App [The Business of Fashion]
  • Google to start selling glasses that will project information, entertainment and ads onto the lenses [NYTimes]

Video: Jason Wu’s Target collection comes to life

Here’s the ad for Jason Wu’s forthcoming Target line. It features Milu, a cartoon cat, who also acts as the motif of the collection.


[The Cut]


Jason Wu’s owl tweets through @MissWu_NY

New York designer Jason Wu has launched an official Twitter account under the name @MissWu_NY, offering insider information as though from the brand’s owl of spring 2011.

“She’s sort of this phantom muse who embodies what we’re about,” said Wu. “I thought it would be more interesting to have her perspective. Having a bird that tweets — it just seemed natural, right?” reports WWD.

The feed follows a myriad of unofficial handles claiming to represent the brand.

Wu has also unveiled a new website designed by Li Inc in collaboration with Sweden Unlimited, which offers greater interaction for the consumer. A new section called Craftsmanship provides an inside look at the collections, while there is also video content and e-commerce capability for handbags.

“As we grow, we want to have that direct interaction with the customers. I want to tell our story in a deeper way,” Wu told WWD. “Unless you come to the showroom, you don’t see all the work that goes into one garment. With today’s fast fashion, it’s important to give people reasons why we are a luxury brand. I want them to see how laces are embroidered, or that what looks like ruffles from afar are actually 50 clusters of hand-sewn flowers.”