Fashion and Celebrity – The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, by Grace Stevenson

Recently an article popped up about how successful The Row has been at the recent New York fashion week, and to be honest, I was quite surprised. Initially, the names Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had me thinking to myself, ‘oh no, another couple of celebrities trying to succeed in something they know nothing about’, yet on checking their recent history, I was suitably impressed. After their ‘child star’ era, they seem to have subtly morphed into fashion icons; collecting no bad press along the way. On researching The Row, I discovered that these girls really DO know what they are on about. They are an exception to the rule.

the row

“Retailers were initially skeptical of the line, fearing it was just another celebrity vanity project, and overpriced to boot.” [1] The Row, although their first foray into the luxury market, is not the first fashion label for the twins. Two more affordable labels, Elizabeth and James and Olsenboye, have been going for a long time. The Row is a decidedly elegant collection, made up of earthy colours, complex yet graceful cuts and well executed designs. “The colours, such as chartreuse and rust, were subtle and beautiful.” [2]


Not only have the twins been praised for their luxury-targeted SS15 show, the pre-fall 2014 look book featured models no younger than 39 with the oldest being 65, a choice applauded by many.

The girls have traditionally been associated with credible street style, having always been on-trend and classy. In more recent times they use a secondary circulation of events such as red carpets, magazines, interviews etc., which has helped them to become ‘brands’ themselves. The hard part is to have a brand, as people, which will translate successfully into the fashion industry, and these girls seem to have nailed it!

As well as having the upper hand before entering the fashion world by being high profile individuals with whom many have ‘grown up’, the Olsen sisters have demonstrated that they can skillfully navigate their way through the fashion world – now being genuinely recognised as fashion designers.


Ashley and Mary-Kate have moved away from the front of the camera in the past few years, doing limited interviews “We didn’t do an interview for it for the first three years,” Mary-Kate said. “Our whole point was if it’s good product, it will sell without a label or a logo or a face behind it, and it worked.”[3]

[1] Smith, R., 2014, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen pitch The Row to sophisticated, older fashion lovers, The Australian, 26 July, viewed 10 September 2014 <>

[2] Menkes, S., 2014, Suzy Menkes at New York fashion week: day four, Vogue Australia Online, 9 September, viewed 10 September 2014 <,32873>

[3] Smith, R., 2014, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen pitch The Row to sophisticated, older fashion lovers, The Australian, 26 July, viewed 10    September 2014 <>