Is there such a thing as securing too many bags? Maybe so as news broke on Tuesday that fashion rental service Rent the Runway was being sued by a smaller competitor for supposedly locking them out of the market. The Blast and Women’s Wear Daily reported yesterday that blogger-targeted style service, FashionPass, was suing RTR for more than $3 million.
According to claims made by FashionPass, Rent the Runway was threatened by the rival’s “considerable growth and success,” and retaliated with “a wrongful, anti-competitive scheme and conspiracy to eliminate competition.” Court documents also report FashionPass’s assertion that RTR leveraged “superior market power and financial capabilities to coerce FashionPass’s top suppliers to refuse to sell merchandise to FashionPass.” Yikes.
The question is, if RTR is truly so far out of FashionPass’s league, both in financial standing and reputation, why would they feel the need to (allegedly) sabotage a competitor? After all, the New York Times did just report that Rent the Runway is now valued at a whopping $1 billion. Surely FashionPass—which I had never heard of until news of the lawsuit surfaced—would be nothing more than a blip on their radar, right?
Wrong. While it’s true that FashionPass is but an infant in the game compared to RTR—the former was founded in 2016 while RTR has been around since 2009—the newcomer has a pretty niche approach to the fashion rental business that might raise the eyebrow or two of a rival company. While Rent the Runway caters its recycled fashions to the masses with the promise of luxe for less, FashionPass is marketed toward bloggers and influencers looking to rent stylish clothes for their content. Their Instagram bio literally says, “rent. wear. ‘gram. repeat.” Genius.
Think about it—your favorite style and beauty guru doesn’t want to be caught dead repeating outfits two and three times. Renting out stylish looks at an affordable rate is a much more sustainable option for the growing population of content creators and micro-influencers—and everyday folks just looking to flex for the gram. Rental and sales company, Model Citizen has done the same as well with success by creating a private community. Could RTR have been threatened by FashionPass’s forward-thinking? Who knows? I guess we’ll have to wait for a judge to decide.
Have you ever worn clothes from a fashion rental service? Which one is your favorite? Personally, we love Model Citizen. Let us know yours in the comments section below!