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Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen Become Billion Dollar Fashion Moguls — Even Michelle Obama Wears Their Clothes!

Wed, April 27, 2011 9:44am EDT by William Earl 1 Comment
Posted Wed, April 27, 2011 9:44am EDT

The former ‘Full House’ cuties have developed into world-famous designers!

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen might be fashion’s most surprising success story outside of Jessica Simpson‘s empire. But while Jessica uses her celebrity to appeal to the everywoman, these 24-year-old twins are all about high fashion.

“With the retailers, we dealt with some tough cookies,” Ashley tells Newsweek. “Their attitude was, ‘Who do these girls think they are?’”

“It definitely took time to earn people’s respect,” Mary-Kate says.

Their most successful venture is the womenswear brand The Row, which they started in 2006. The clothes appeal to an older, high-end sensibility that the uninitiated might not expect the Olsens to have. Instead of outfitting scenesters such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, The Row appeals more to professional women, including label fan Michelle Obama.

Julie Gilhart, the former fashion director of Barneys New York, says the twins have a unique and mature fashion sensibility for their age.

“What they do has become successful, and everyone needs to give them that,” she says. “They really concentrated on product, not fashion so much. Their pieces fit into the trends yet weren’t trendy.”

Also surprising? The Olsen’s commitment to keeping their production close to home.

“I really believe in our being able to create here and utilize the skills that people have here,” Ashley said. “The skill set is here. Our main issue is that some of the machinery is gone, so some knitwear is produced in Italy. But whether it’s clothing or cars, I believe in manufacturing as close to home as possible.”

We love how the Olsens have grown and think their fashion careers are just beginning!

— Willam Earl

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