Rent the Runway's CTO says a strong engineering department turns dreams into reality

Camille Fournier leads a 60-member team that has delivered innovations such as a one-of-a-kind platform that allows customers to shop by browsing photos of real women with similar body types.

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Rent the Runway calls itself "a fashion company with a technology soul," with proprietary systems driving its growth from its 2009 formation as an online dress rental company through its expansion into brick-and-mortar shops in 2013 to the introduction of the lineup of online features it has today.

Camille Fournier has led much of that IT innovation. She joined the company as director of engineering in 2011 and in August 2014 was named CTO, the company's top tech position. She now leads a 60-person team that has delivered innovations such as a one-of-a-kind platform that allows customers to shop by browsing photos of real women with similar body types. Fournier frequently speaks at events on various tech topics and is an advocate for bringing more women into IT.

What's the biggest IT challenge Rent the Runway has faced? When I joined, most of the technology that ran the business was in Drupal, a PHP content management system that is useful for many things, but it's not a great fit for the complexity that is Rent the Runway. It was what they had chosen very early on and they made it work OK, but it wasn't going to scale. I had to [determine] how do we get out of Drupal, how do we change the engines while the jet's in flight?

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