It is remarkable how the Olsen sisters have built their luxury fashion brand and business empire in a relatively short time. As Ashley narrates the story herself how as a teenager she wanted the perfect T-shirt and when she couldn’t find it anywhere she commissioned a factory to make one exactly as she had in her mind. The process took some time but at the end of a year the sisters had what they wanted and it fitted women of various ages and sizes. They explain that the secret is the French seam running down the back. They had put in a lot of effort by then and since the result was good they decided to sell it to the consumers at large. They decided on the brand name Row for their high-end, luxury clothing label based in New York. The choice of the name was inspired by London’s Savile Row.
The secret behind their success, feels Ashley is that they make the best quality, things that they would shop for, that they appreciate and find beautiful. They came in the market when the going was tough for all the luxury brands and the luxury segment but it goes to their credit that they managed to establish their products at relatively high price points. Their basic T-shirt sells for £195 on Net-a-Porter, a camel wool coat is nearly £2,000, with a pretty lace shirt at £995 and dresses for £1,500 and upwards.
Since its launch in 2006, Row has quietly grown into a force to be reckoned with. They received the endorsement of First Lady Michelle Obama, featured prominently in US Vogue and also nominated for CFDA Fashion Awards. Their clientele is mainly amongst the working women who are willing to spend money on quality. They appreciate their understated, classic pieces that fit beautifully, feel good against the skin and won’t look dated after one season’s wear. They were perhaps the only brand that thrived through the recession and emerged even stronger. They have acquired a large loyal following of repeat customers. They have now launched a more bohemian label Elizabeth and James aimed at a slightly younger, edgier customer.