Since establishing their clothing line The Row, ex-child-star twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have defied all expectations for a ‘celebrity’ brand. From its anonymous name to it’s rigorous palette, the label explores luxury, craft and understatement and has won legions of well-heeled fans across the globe. Following the opening of two spectacular concept stores, the sisters talked to DANSK about their approach to design, their plans for menswear and the advantages of having a show biz past.
What made you become a designer?
“The Row started with the idea of creating the perfect t-shirt. We believed in offering quality product with anonymity.” –MK
“The Row began with a line of essential items and slowly build off of that starting notion.” –Ashley
What is your design DNA?
“The Row’s DNA is creating timeless pieces using the best techniques and luxurious fabrics.” –Ashley
Who is your hero? And how does that influence your work?
“We have worked with many amazing, talented, smart women and men through the years, who have always been a source of inspiration.” –MK
“Many of those women are also our clients. They inspire us when designing, as we always keep their needs in mind.” –Ashley
What are the challenges and advantages of being two sisters working together?
“For us, there are only advantages. We have each other as a soundboard to bounce off ideas and underlying trust.” –MK
“There is always that constant support and trust.” –Ashley
Does your background in the acting world have any influence on your design work?
“Working in the film industry, being our size, we were constantly in fittings. We always had to re-work certain pieces, which was our introduction to tailoring and fit.” –Ashley
“I believe it also helps with storytelling visually.” –MK
Why call your line The Row?
“The Row is a nod to Savile Row in London.” –MK
“The Row was inspired by the concept of made to measure pieces, focusing on fit and fabric.” –Ashley
Any plans to grow your existing small menswear line?
“Menswear is an exciting chapter for us, and we will continue to grow it organically. For the time being, it is exclusively sold at our retail stores.” –Ashley
Your stores in LA and New York show amazing attention to detail. How do you go about collecting all the pieces used in them?
“We do a lot of research when it comes to local vendors for our stores and shop in shops. We want our stores to reflect their environment, thus we are always sourcing local décor and furniture.” –Ashley
“At our retail spaces, everything is for sale. When a piece of furniture, art, or jewelry sells, we resource and evolve our space. With this, the spaces always feel fresh and and we can continue to educate ourselves.” –MK
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“We plan on continuing to build the brand in an organic fashion that makes sense for us.” –Ashley
“We want to give each category, and growth opportunity, the time and attention it needs, and we are excited for those next chapters.” –MK
Interview by Graham Addinall / Mathilde Storm