Sustainable High Fashion: “Rent the Runway” Instead!


****Fashion Alert for all my Eco-Fabulous Climate Mamas! ****

As Climate Mama’s and Papas, life is often a juggling act between trying to live more sustainably – really walking the walk – and not just

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

talking the talk. While I am extremely conscious of all the efforts my family makes to be more sustainable, we haven’t stopped going to parties or going out to dinner. On some of these occasions I DO want to look extra “fabulous”…which often involves feeling the need to search outside my own limited “closet” for something new…..

Friend’s closest often do the trick as do some amazing thrift and consignment shops. However, when those fashion magazines “beckon” me from the grocery store check out line, I do wonder what it would be like to throw “carbon footprint caution to the wind” and to wear some of those amazing high fashion clothes?! Not wanting to buy something I will wear only once, let alone spend the $100, or even 1000’s of dollars that some of these high fashion outfits command, regularly stops me cold in the grocery store and far away from the designer’s showroom, store or outlet.

Rent the Runway (RTR) to the rescue!! A few years ago I discovered what has now been duped by some as the “Netflix’s” of high fashion, Rent the Runway. This company has allowed me to indulge, with much less eco-guilt, in my “secret fantasy” – wearing fantastic designer Rent the Runwayclothes. As I chronicled back in March of 2010, a few months after Rent the Runway launched, the company’s website allows users to choose high fashion items from the privacy of your home – saving time, gas, resources and energy. This not only saves you multiple trips to multiple stores but could also impact the energy and resource intensive production and development that often goes into making the clothes in the first place (one dress made instead of 10?!). As well, it offers you the chance to wear some amazing clothes at a tiny fraction of the actual cost of the outfits. An added bonus for me is knowing that the clothes will be reused again and again which fits in nicely with my sustainable sensibilities.

Over the past 2 years I have rented dresses from RTR close to 10 times, more often then not staying with designers that I knew looked good on me and ones that I have been lucky with, with sizes and fits. The RTR policy of getting a ‘second’ size of the same dress for free is a big help! Rent the Runway also has stylists “on call” that I have consulted on the phone for input and advice.

Rent the Runway Showroom: NYC

For those of us that live in and near the New York City metro area, a new RTR feature that launched in August 2012 is the RTR Showroom. I was lucky enough to visit on opening day and loved my experience! I booked 3 dresses for an upcoming extremely special family weekend occasion. Not only did all three dresses cost me less then one dress would have cost, I would not have chosen 2 of the 3 dresses from the website as they were outside of my “safe go-to designers.”

With the help of my new BFFs at Rent the Runway, I know I will look “FABULOUS” for my upcoming special occasion. I look forward to visiting the showroom again and talking to their staff about how to make my “shopping” experience even more “sustainable. ” Btw, RTR also has accessories – jewelry and bags – another new RTR “reuse” expansion! What will be next….?

With some ideas for a little fun and self indulgences for all my eco-fabulous Climate Mamas….


Climate Mama

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2 Responses to Sustainable High Fashion: “Rent the Runway” Instead!

  1. Leigh says:

    This looks like an amazing resource. Sometimes you really do only need a dress for one night! Green and fun.

    • Harriet says:

      Green and Fun! Love that concept thanks! We need to say and do that more often..And yes, it is a great resource.

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