UH graduate threads business, fashion together
Houston’s fashion thermometer is on the rise and that can be partially attributed to New for the Night, a recently launched clothing boutique and online dress rental website founded by University of Houston alumna Brittany Sakowitz.
The scholarly Sakowitz obtained her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in just three years from Louisiana State University and then immediately transitioned into a dual-degree program at the UH Law Center.
She went on to earn her Juris Doctor and Master’s of Business Administration titles after graduating in Dec. 2010.
New for the Night operates as a single boutique located in River Oaks, but is also available online to fashionistas across the country through newforthenight.com.
The boutique is a modest store decorated with a basic white interior and illuminates from the pop of bright colors on the variety of dresses.
Customers are treated by a warm southern smile from Sakowitz as soon as they enter the store, which is structured around a clean and simple design. Coffee table books and fashion magazines are also on display in the store, which adds a chic ambiance to the setting.
The concept of New for the Night can be compared to the way the popular American film rental companies Blockbuster and Netflix work: Customers are allowed to browse the available dresses in the store or online just as they would browse films at Blockbuster or netflix.com, make a selection and then finalize their rental.
“Essentially, you log onto the website so even if you’re in the store, it all runs through newforthenight.com,” Sakowitz said.
“You rent a dress for a three to ten day period — you pick out a dress, you pick out a period and then you check out. Then we ship it to you, you wear it to that party or special occasion and then you ship it back in a pre-addressed, pre-labeled envelope that we give you or you drop it off in the showroom if you want.”
New for the Night offers designer dresses that are available to rent for as much as 90-percent off of the original retail prices. Some of the fashion labels that the business carries include Catherine Deane, Naven and Rebecca Taylor.
Sakowitz was inspired by the idea for New for the Night at a young age when she and her two sisters all went to school dances, formal parties and social galas growing up.
“We would steal each other’s dresses and then wear them,” Sakowitz said. “We started a myrtle system — if you let me borrow your dress for this occasion, I’ll let you borrow mine.”
In addition to offering dresses for rent, the fashion business also carries accessories.
“We sell undergarments and jewelry to go with the dresses and usually it’s statement jewelry that you would want to pair with it just so we can have a complete look,” Sakowitz said.
Sakowitz owes the UH Law Center for ultimately giving her the confidence to pursue her business and fashion dreams.
“Tony Chase is the teacher in the law school and that’s the class where I really worked on this business plan and where it really clicked,” said Sakowitz.
“Professor Chase really broke it down into very logical steps and creating the business plan helped me realize that this was something doable that I could use my degree for.”
As the summer season begins to heat up Houston, women can expect to find dresses to rent for almost every occasion ranging from cocktail socials, graduations or just a fun girls night out on Washington Ave.
Sakowitz also insists that renting from New for the Night rather than purchasing a generic dress from chain retail stores can make all the difference.
“You can shop at Forever 21 and get a dress that’s going to be the same price as a rental dress, but you won’t have that quality and you won’t have that design,” Sakowitz said.
“I think there’s a reason why people crave these designer fashions and it’s because of the quality. They fit better, they’re designed better, they’re much more unique and it shows in the way you feel. I think people feel beautiful in the way they wear these dresses and that’s what our goal is.“
The New for the Night boutique is located at 3209 Westheimer Rd.