Rent the Runway dresses up haute couture for the Netflix generation

Stephen Whiteside

Most fashion brands draw their inspiration from the catwalks of Paris, Milan, and New York.

But one disruptive player is using Netflix as its style guru.

Rent the Runway is an online platform where women can hire dresses and accessories from 275 high-end designers for four or eight days, after which time they simply return these items in a pre-paid envelope. While the aim is to provide each client with a "Cinderella experience", the site also leverages the sharing economy model that largely was kick-started by Netflix's DVD distribution service.

"We try and look at ourselves as a service company that's kind of offering women that 'Cinderella experience', if you will: that confidence and empowerment for all these important moments in your life," Jennifer Fleiss, a co-founders of Rent the Runway, told delegates at the Northside Festival, an annual innovation, film and music event in Brooklyn, New York.