Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's label The Row has established itself as one of New York's most high-profile young brands, quickly garnering a reputation for luxurious basics and a relaxed, effortless aesthetic. Since launching in 2006, the brand has expanded to include a range of ready-to-wear, eyewear, handbags and footwear, and, in addition to being stocked in exclusive stores around the world, has stand-alone stores in New York and Los Angeles. Having now been in the industry for over a decade, they are now accepted as part of the New York Fashion Week firmament, with their collections receiving critical acclaim and commercial success.
The Olsens have been in the spotlight since a young age, beginning their careers as child actresses. Their first stride into fashion commerce was in 1999, when they collaborated with Walmart on a line for girls aged four to 14, which successfully lifted the retailer’s profile with the tween market. The signature line — an extension of the Mary-Kate and Ashley brand which came under their multimillion-dollar fashion and entertainment business Dualstar — was designed by the girls themselves and is cited by the duo as their first experience of creating a collection and getting to grips with fashion business.
After founding luxury brand The Row in 2006, the pair added contemporary line Elizabeth and James to their portfolio. The line, which was named after their siblings, was launched in 2007 and encompasses ready-to-wear, sunglasses, jewellery and bags before closing down its store and most in-house operations in 2018. It continues through a licensing agreement with Kohl's, where the line is sold exclusively. The sisters also partnered with JC Penney in 2009 to launch an affordable teen line Olsenboye, aimed at the mass market; they have also collaborated with StyleMint and Scandinavian retailer Bik Bok.
In 2012, and again in 2015, the CFDA awarded the Olsens with the Womenswear Designers of the Year accolade. In 2014 and 2018, they won the title of CFDA Accessory Designers of the Year. In 2008, the sisters published their debut book Influence, which is a compilation of interviews with individuals who have inspired them from the fashion industry.