No one likes things quite like Vogue likes things. Among their many praises of the Olsen twins and their line, the Row, in the April issue: that you would be "stupid ... to think of them as dinky little celebrity girls with an accidental business in clothes"; that the Row's spring 2011 line was "impressively wearable," made all the more impressive having been "wrested from disaster" when samples were late to arrive and they had to move the show to Paris at the last minute; that the line looks "suspiciously like a contender for the higher ranks of American luxury"; that "if Malcolm Gladwell is correct about the way children who put in 10,000 hours of specialist study become outliers in later life," Ashley's childhood work experience "virtually qualified her for an MBA before the age of sixteen"; and that "it would not be surprising if the tiny Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen turned out to be two of the largest players in mid-twenty-first-century American fashion."
Still, how have they pulled any of this off without a formal design education? “Fair question,” replies Ashley, “but 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.” “And we were really designing it,” adds Mary-Kate. “It would be jeans, a bit bohemian, or with a little blazer. It was really fashion-forward.”
The girls took control of the company built on their childhood earnings in TV and movies on their eighteenth birthday, when they bought out the former owners, took a hiatus from acting, and moved to New York. Dualstar has now had retail sales of $1 billion. What could possibly have qualified them for such corporate responsibility, or made them even want it?
Mary-Kate, expert thrower of the stunning conversation stopper, replies, “Well, at that point we had been working eighteen years.”
So, you read it in Vogue, aspiring Olsen twins: The gateway to building one of the best luxury brands ever is Wal-Mart.