New York-based fashion company Rent the Runway calls Derby a 'pe - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New York-based fashion company Rent the Runway calls Derby a 'peak week'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -

People are nabbing designer outfits for the Kentucky Derby without paying designer prices.

They're doing it at Rent the Runway, a New York-based website that lets you rent designer clothing and accessories for a fraction of the retail price for four to eight days at a time.

“You can come on to our platform and use us for any occasion,” said Sarah Tam, Senior Vice President of Fashion. “We showcase about 300 designers online with over 1,000 styles.”

Tam says Derby keeps her busy.

“It's definitely one of our peak weeks,” she said. “We definitely see a lift in business for the Derby.”

It’s a week right up there with the holiday season and military ball season in October and November. The fashion platform has been popular in Louisville ever since the company started seven years ago.

Almost a dozen dresses come through a Louisville UPS store on a normal day, according to Ashley Hadley, who works at UPS in Middletown.

“We normally see five to ten of them a day,” Hadley said. “But the week of Derby, I would estimate we see a few hundred during the course of a week or so.”

That means thousands of Rent the Runway dresses are shipping in and out of Louisville this week between the 26 UPS stores in the area, according to Hadley.

This single Louisville horse race has such an influence on the New York company, it started a new service: hat rentals.

“There was a request from a lot of people last year wondering if we could do hats, so we actually bought a few styles,” Tam said.

There are only a handful of hats on the site, but Rent the Runway says all the orders are causing the company to expand the line for next year. As for colorful, fashion-forward, floral or stripped dresses, Rent the Runway has thousands to choose from.

When shoppers are done wearing their outfits, they zip them back in the bag and return them to the UPS store.

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