Mary-Kate And Ashley Olsen Take The Web: A Style.com Interview
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen announced Tuesday that they’ll be putting on their first-ever fashion show next month, but that isn’t their only big story this week. The Row’s new Web site went live today. Created in collaboration with Matthew Daniel Siskin of designedmemory, the interactive design studio behind Chris Benz, Genevieve Jones, and Albertus Swanepoel’s sites, the new therow.com is as subtly cool as one of the designer sisters’ $250 Supima cotton jersey short-sleeved T-shirts. In fact, the site’s different backgrounds are full-frame images of fabrics from the collection. It’s not set up for e-commerce just yet, but the Olsens assure us that it will be by late summer, in time to sell their Fall collection. MK and Ashley get techy with us below.
What are some of your favorite Web sites, and where did you look for inspiration for making yours?
Ashley Olsen: I have to admit we’re not that tech-savvy, but we’re constantly learning and discovering new things on the Web. I check Style.com to look at the collections and love to poke around some of the other fashion blogs to see what’s going on. And, of course, I check nytimes.com religiously and huffingtonpost.com for news. A friend introduced to me to hypem.com, which is an amazing resource to check out new music.
What does the look and the feel of the Web site say about the collection?
Mary-Kate Olsen: We looked at a lot of different Web sites before we started working on our own, and we thought most of them were too loud. We wanted The Row Web site to be subdued and very direct. I think that has been a philosophy behind The Row ever since we started the line. All of the background visuals are high-res images of actual fabric swatches from our collections. We wanted the viewer to really see all of the details of the beautiful fabrics we use—washed red silk charmeuse, the scales of our python skins, our cashmere modals. We wanted it to feel like you could reach out and touch everything.
How did you choose designedmemory and what was the process of working with
AO: We instantly loved how visual the other sites they had done were—everything felt so tactile. We wanted to keep that tactile feeling but also make sure the site was very simple and easy to navigate.
MKO: Designedmemory really understood The Row’s aesthetic and our personal view that a Web site shouldn’t be too overdone. They understood that we didn’t want it to look too “Webby.” They taught us a lot about what’s possible with technology. Plus, it’s always fun to work with young, ambitious people.
How did working on the Web site compare to other parts of working on The Row? Was the division of labor different than it is when it comes to working on the clothes?
MKO: I was actually very surprised to discover that working on the Web site was very similar to the actual process of designing the collection itself. Designedmemory were amazing collaborators because they truly collaborated with us—we worked on every single piece of imagery and content on the Web site directly. It was a very hands-on experience, which I didn’t expect—it felt more like making a beautiful collage than a Web site team. It was a very intimate experience, which was exactly how we like to work.