Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen gave their first interview since 2019 this week, to mark the 15th anniversary of their fashion label The Row. The twins, who celebrated their 35th birthday on Sunday, have famously avoided publicity since focusing on their fashion careers. They rarely make public appearances as well, and they were the only members of the original Full House cast never to make appearances on the Fuller House sequel series.
The Olsen twins spoke with i-D for the magazine's New Worldwi-De Issue. They were 18 when they started The Row, but they were not sure this was the direction they wanted to take their careers when they moved to New York at first. "We had just moved to New York. We were 18 years old and I think what we did know was that we wanted to take that time to take a break from what we were previously doing and to explore things that interested us, and explore what life has to offer..." Ashley began. "Creatively," Mary-Kate added. "We wanted to explore making something of ourselves," Ashley explained.
The Row's anniversary will not be celebrated with a big party or retrospective shows, in keeping with the Olsen twins' aversion to publicity. They are obsessed with details, which becomes obvious for those who visit The Row's stores in New York, Los Angeles, and London. "I think we're very much perfectionists and hard workers and we've always been hard workers," Mary-Kate told i-D. "So, I am happy that people look at it as a perfect product, or products that feel complete, or whole."
"I think the reason that we do fashion is to constantly try to fix our imperfections, and you always have next season to do that," Mary-Kate continued. "It's also our job to find every imperfection in there to make sure that we're constantly pushing ourselves and training our eyes and making sure everyone is served. Just evolving and learning."
They don't even like doing traditional shows. They followed the format in 2010 for New York Fashion Week, but they canceled their show the following year and held a salon presentation in Paris instead. Since then, they have continued holding unconventional presentations for their work. Ashley said after the first show, she decided she couldn't show The Row's work that way again. "I think that is why we really started to explore presenting in a more intimate environment," she told i-D. "It's more work for us – we have to do three shows instead of one – and it's definitely a lot more effort, but it's really about eliminating the noise in the room."
Model Gigi Hadid told i-D she respects the way the Olsens present their work because it draws attention to their designs, not the celebrities who made them. " They want to put out their art without feeling too exposed or too vulnerable or used for the wrong reasons," Hadid said. "They don't want people showing up like 'I'm here for the Mary-Kate and Ashley show.' They want people to come and respect the clothing."
This was the Olsens' first major interview since they spoke with British Vogue in April 2019. Mary-Kate was recently seen in public in May, eating at a West Village restaurant with a friend. While they have left acting behind, their younger sister Elizabeth Olsen continues to star on screen. She was just seen in the Disney+ series WandaVision.