ABC News’ Linsey Davis and Natasha Singh report:
When Nicole Madison tried a dress that she thought was a showstopper, she liked it so much she sent a picture of herself wearing it to Rent the Runway, the website where she got it.
“I wanted other women my size, my height to see what I looked like in a dress so hopefully it would inspire them to also rent the dress,” Madison said.
The idea caught on.
“Our customers started submitting so many photos of themselves in dresses, looking and feeling fantastic, and we realized in our culture, where celebrity images are around us all the time, we wanted a way to make our own customers into the celebrities that they are every single day,” Jennifer Fleiss, who co-founded the site with Jennifer Hyman, told “Good Morning America” in a story that aired on the show today.
Rent the Runway — which allows women to rent designer clothing, has just launched a new section on its website called Our Runway. It gives women the chance to shop online and see just how the looks they’re interested in would fit their body type by showing pictures of ordinary women wearing the dresses.
The founders of Our Runway said the site is the first social shopping platform of its kind.
Shoppers can enter their own height, weight and chest size, and see photos of average women wearing the site’s designer garments.
No longer will online shoppers have to wonder how the dress that looked so great on the ultra-slim models will look on their own bodies, with their particular problem areas, the site’s operators say.
“Ninety percent of our customers rent a brand they’ve never owned before because our business is about having Cinderella moments with fashion. This is a way to take the risk out of trying a new brand because you can see that dress on a woman like you,” Hyman said.
More than 15,000 customers have posted pictures showing off their shapes in their designer clothes. The real women are not just models, but stylists, too.
“You can see how every single woman has styled the dress and you can also ask those women questions about how they accessorized it, what color shoes they wore, if the dress really fit,” Hyman said.
Customers appreciate the service, Fleiss said.
“We think the real question is not will the dress fit, it’s will the dress look good on me?” she said. “And this is our solution to that. We think that the best way for you to figure that out is to see the dress on another woman who has a similar body type. So we have found from our customers that these photos have enabled women to feel more self confident and to have more accurate fit.”