Mary-Kate And Ashley Olsen: Reluctant Celebrity Designers

Mary-Kate Olsen tells Newsweek the twins almost opted out of fronting their multi-million-dollar clothing line The Row.

Given that their Mary-Kate And Ashley line of children’s clothing helped rocket the worth of their company, DualStar, to nearly a billion dollars, you might expect the Olsens to flaunt their Full House fame. But Mary-Kate tells the new issue of Newsweek it was the complete opposite when they were developing their line of high-end basics, The Row. “Initially, I wanted someone else to front the brand,” she tells Newsweek. “We wanted someone else to rep it. But we couldn’t lie.”

Instead, the twins both agreed to be the public face of the respected line, even as they were also slaving away over fabric swatches and crunching numbers behind the scenes. Less than four years after The Row’s debut during New York fashion week, the line brings in $10 to $12 million annually. Ashley credits her early involvement with their cutesy Wal-Mart line for their current success. “Thank God our parents wanted us to be involved,” she tells Newsweek. “Running a fashion company, it’s just as important to understand numbers as it is to have a design point of view.”