The Olsens, as so many of us know, are like elusive gazelles who stare wide-eyed at the camera (I like to think it’s their own inside joke) and offer mysterious crystal-shaped pebble scones at their shows for The Row. But occasionally they give us a glimpse into their world, as they just did with their British Vogue interview, on newsstands now.
They talked to Vogue for the magazine’s April 2019 issue about the Row, their label they started in a dorm room (presumably at NYU?) in 2006. In the interview, they basically emphasized what’s always been the case with the Olsens—they’re way more interested in being behind-the-scenes designers than having any kind of celebrity face. The Row has been hugely successful, garnering them four CFDA trophies and seeing the opening of two brick-and-mortar locations in New York and Los Angeles. Now, they’re opening a third location in London.
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“We are professional women, and that’s how we conduct ourselves. After all, we’ve been working since we were nine months old.” Now aged 32, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen are esteemed designers who have won a devoted customer base the world over – and soon, @TheRow will arrive in London. See the full story in the April 2019 issue of #BritishVogue, on newsstands now. #AshleyOlsen and #MaryKateOlsen photographed by @CraigMcDeanStudio and styled by @AlastairMcKimm, with hair by @MarkTownsend1 and make-up by @AnaRiz1.
“London will be totally different, but very much The Row,” Mary-Kate said. “There’s still a craft in London. There’s authenticity; there are a lot of artisans that are based there.”
Speaking about their Hollywood origins, Mary-Kate told Vogue: “We’ve been there, we’ve done that, we started out that way. But this is the way we chose to move forward in our lives: to not be in the spotlight, to really have something that speaks for itself.”
And it does speak for itself. Mary-Kate and Ashley, while inextricably connected to the Row’s image, are also very subtle about every aspect of branding. There aren’t celebrity-filled runway spectacles or social media, save for a brand Instagram filled with Cy Twombly paintings and Man Ray “rayographs”. Their shows invite guests to sit on blocks of wood and drink coffee from artisanal pottery.
As they’ve emphasized in previous interviews, they are, above all, hard workers. “Every minute is accounted for” Mary-Kate told The Edit. “We are professional women, and that’s how we conduct ourselves,” they told Vogue. “After all, we’ve been working since we were nine months old.”
The work—and perhaps the distance maintained from celebritydom in order to gain a certain kind of fashion world respect—has certainly paid off. In a Vogue review of their Fall 2019 collection, Mark Holgate wrote, “Olsens know their way around orchestrating fabric, cut, and finish into a virtual symphony of sighs, something ably demonstrated by this terrific collection.”
Praise be to our minimalist alien goddesses!