The Universal Standard story started on a regular workday. Unexpected plans popped up for friends Alexandra Waldman and Polina Veksler, and realizing that they had nothing to wear, the pair dashed to the nearest store. Polina was ready to go in minutes, but Alex couldn’t find anything. She wasn’t picky. She was a size 20.
After years of disappointing shopping experiences, Alex took matters into her own hands. She partnered with Polina to launch a clothing brand where a size 6 and a size 26 could shop together. It wasn’t long before Universal Standard was born, a modern clothing line of luxe essentials, in sizes 00 – 44.
RTR sits down with Alex to dive into Universal Standard’s next chapter—launching on Rent the Runway.
Why is Universal Standard excited to partner with Rent the Runway?
RTR is a brilliant discovery platform for brands. Allowing customers to not simply try pieces on, but wear test them, is an invaluable customer experience. It also frees the customer up to really and truly experiment with her style and discover the brand more broadly. That’s a very freeing experience, and we’re all about that!
How do you envision Rent the Runway furthering Universal Standard’s brand mission?
Fit, inclusivity, and affordability are the things nearest and dearest to our hearts. RTR provides best-in-class access to all three of those values.
Universal Standard has a great policy called Fit Liberty, where customers can trade them in for another size within a year. Do you see renting as another solution for fit?
Anything that gives you the liberty to be who you are right now, without thinking there is a ‘better’ you in some future tense, is a beautiful thing. Both the Fit Liberty program and renting from RTR allow you to feel great – always.
How do you decide to introduce new pieces, silhouettes and colors and why? Is your process different from typical fashion designers?
If our design process is different in any way, it is in that it includes every size in its process. We believe that if you wouldn’t make a certain piece for a size 6, then don’t make it for a size 26. A size 6 woman has never had better taste – she’s just had better options.
Your photography is so compelling and so fresh for the fashion industry. Tell us about the story and inspiration behind it.
It all hangs off of our brand code, which is ‘practical aspiration’. We truly believe in the beauty of real life, and in showcasing all women across the size, race, age, sexual-orientation, spectrums. We want everyone to feel represented throughout our story telling – and that includes the size 6, just as readily as the lesser showcased size 26.
What pieces should we rent first?
All of our pieces are classic, chic, and easy to wear. Whatever you choose should make you happy!
What’s next for Universal Standard?
In short – everything! Keep your eyes peeled, there are some amazing things to come.