It’s been a while since I’ve been excited about Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. While I loved watching them on television when I was growing up, I’ll admit by the time New York Minute hit theaters, I had lost interest considerably. Just goes to show you should never close the book on anyone completely (especially a pair of billionaire corporate moguls) because here I am, loving them once more. And I’m not the only one.
The Olsen’s fashion labels, Elizabeth and James and The Row, are gaining acclaim in dozens of fashion magazines and on sites throughout the net; a shocking feat for a celebrity-backed fashion line trying to grow its business amidst an economic crisis.
Fashion editors, store owners, buyers, and fellow designers are all heaping praise onto the twins for their womenswear collections. And why not? They're superb. But, I’m even more excited for the menswear collections, which debut in both lines this fall.
GQ’s August issue focused on Elizabeth and James, the twin’s less-expensive contemporary line for the young, modern customer. Of the new menswear line, GQ writer Will Welch says, “it’s actually good. Like, really good.” The line is minimalist with a worn-in feel, focusing on items like modern-fitting blazers, chunky sweaters, and wool pants that can function for both casual and dressy occasions. “Menswear is new to us, and we’re still learning,” Ashley says. “But we’ve worked every single day since we were 9 months.”
Details Magazine, on the other hand, reviewed the upcoming menswear line for The Row. While both Olsen’s are involved in the fashion brands, The Row is largely Ashley’s project, and she has become the de facto head of the label. The Row is a more luxurious fashion brand, designed for an older client who doesn’t care so much about “fashion” necessarily as they do about quality and attention to detail. It's a more quiet luxury, if you will. With prices ranging from $230 for a t-shirt to $3,200 for a cashmere overcoat, the clothing won’t be for everyone to buy for themselves, but will certainly be for everyone to appreciate. “Menswear right now is very fashion-forward,” Ashley says. “I want to get back to the roots of what guys wear every day. I just really enjoy making beautiful, wearable clothes.”
And what’s next on the agenda for the Olsen twins? While Mary-Kate still plans to focus on acting, Ashley says that she plans to cement herself to the fashion industry for a while. She told V Man magazine, “I’ve been transitioning from acting as a kid to doing something that I’m choosing for myself – to be a part of the fashion industry. That’s what I really want for my future.” And the future is bright. Not only is Ashley going to keep designing for her fashion lines, she would like to start looking into brand building, and aspires to own a holding company someday. She says, “brand-building is what I love more than anything. It’s everything I’ve learned up until this point [and] I have a different understanding of what works for a brand and what doesn’t.”
Personally, I can’t wait to see how the Olsen’s fashion lines expand over the next year, and I plan on checking out the clothes in person at Barney’s New York, the first chance I get. I’ll also be keeping my eye out for any more news about a new luxury group headed by the talented Olsen's (as it's my ultimate career dream as well).