AT ABOUT 4.30am the first of thousands of black garment bags arrive by truck at a vast warehouse less than ten miles (16km) from Lower Manhattan. The bags brim with designer dresses and other trendy clothing and accessories. Workers begin inspecting the garments. A billowy, patterned blouse smells a bit ripe. A floor-length red gown has a tear. A stain sullies the floral pattern of a silk sundress.
Turnaround is quick. The blouse is sent to washing machines, the gown goes to one of the 75 seamstresses lined up next to a wall of thread, zippers, buttons and other adornments in every imaginable colour and the silk dress makes its way to the “spotters”: experts who know how to get tough stains out of delicate fabrics. Most items are in and out in less than a day.
Such efficiency is essential for Rent the Runway (RTR), a New York-based, privately-owned startup with a value of almost $800m that rents out…Continue reading