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  • camera and managing the process, so it’s hard for us to do photoshoots now,” says Mary-Kate. “That’s why you have models.”

    Instead, their meticulously mapped-out time (“We’re very organized; every minute is accounted for”) is spent working, alternating their days between this office and the one a couple of floors down that houses The Row, quietly getting on with building their labels. So quietly, in fact, that it’s entirely possible you’ve been shopping one or the other without quite realizing who is behind it.

    Elizabeth and James was conceived after the Olsens, with their wily eyes for business, spotted a gap for a contemporary brand in a market that is now saturated but, back then, had very little to offer.

    The road to fashion success is paved with labels that have fallen by the wayside, so it takes serious talent to steer not one but two brands to great heights. And if you came to the industry without any of the usual credentials, via a completely different career? Well, that’s pretty spectacular. Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, former actresses and style pin-ups, now founders and designers of pared-back luxury label The Row and contemporary lifestyle brand Elizabeth and James, have achieved just that over the past decade, gaining industry respect and credibility along the way. No mean feat.

    It’s Elizabeth and James we’re here to talk about in the label’s New York offices overlooking the Hudson River, the shoot for The Edit winding up in the room next door. Ashley and Mary-Kate, 30, are happier to be talking than posing: once a common occurrence, being photographed is outside of their comfort zone these days, something they do just once or twice a year. “We’re used to being on the other side of the

    “We like to Say Elizabeth and James is the New luxury; great fabrics and great fits at a Lower price point”


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