Not only do the Olsens have seriously enviable style, they understand fashion on a level that completely floors us. Vogue clearly feels the same way, having published a glowing profile of the impressive duo in their April issue.
The piece focuses on the girls’ work for The Row, their high-end line with significant fashion world cred. The takeaway? Life experience served them way better than a formal education ever could. They had more business and design experience by the time they were 18 than most people have by the time they’re more than twice that age.
Ashley: “Dualstar started when we were six. And we had a collection with Walmart at twelve, which was the upper tier of the tween market. It was before celebrity designers.”
Mary Kate: “And we were really designing it. It would be jeans, a bit bohemian, or with a little blazer. It was really fashion-forward.”
They approach fashion with an almost-scientific precision. They collect specimens, study said specimens carefully, develop their own prototypes and withstand a painstaking process of trial and error. For Mary-Kate and Ashley, however, error is a rarity. Of course, sometimes inspiration is simple:
Ashley picked up a length of leopard-print goatskin. “That would make a great coat,” she mused. Without any cue, Mary-Kate stood up and turned her back, while Ashley draped it on her. A split second later, Mary-Kate was spontaneously shimmying it up and bunching it into a hat. During New York Fashion Week, the result: The goat leopard is the showstopper opener of their fall presentation, and the hat has become the biggest fox snowboarder beanie ever, pushed to the limit of witty, casual chic.
While it may seem the Olsens are in the undesirable “where can they go from here” zone, they feel like they’ve only just now hit their stride. They still have a whole lot left to design, and plenty of other things they’d like to do. For example, Ashley wants to run a studio that would allow her to consult on brands.
And though they are certainly distinct entities, having outgrown playing the same character well over a decade ago, their twinness is absolutely part of their collective identity.
“Some of our memories are shared,” Mary-Kate says at one point. “We don’t know what actually happened to whom. One of us was stung by a bee, but we can’t remember who, because we both felt it.”