The Row is successful because the Olsen twins are pure aspiration. Because Mary-Kate and Ashley epitomize an existence of quiet opulence, countless admirers wish to live like them, dress like them, smell like them.
Hey, me too. No one looks more effortless on the streets of NYC than the Olsen twins. So, I get why folks are attracted to their clothing line, because I am too.
What I don’t get, however, is how that aura alone uplifts The Row to pure luxury. It’s really impressive that the brand can sell its products at the prices it asks mostly because of that sense of opulence afforded by its founders and aesthetics.
The Row’s products don’t sit on any old shelf, for instance: its accessories perch atop a Le Corbusier staircase.
Certainly, that’s not to undercut the quality of The Row’s clothing. Hell no! The Row makes lovely stuff. Plus, complaining about luxury brands being expensive is so lame.
I get it, I can’t afford anything from the big fashion houses either. But they’re always gonna be expensive because that’s the point. Luxury stuff is intended to be a splurge, otherwise it wouldn’t be exclusive.
For The Row, curating a sense of austere opulence is how it can justify selling stuff for top dollar. And I mean top.
Does it cost $800 to make denim pants? Of course not, but that’s how much it costs to own The Row’s Eglitta jeans.
Organic cotton alone may up the cost of an otherwise normal shirt but the $475 Ciles Top is especially pricey.
But that’s luxury for you. You pay for the textile, the pattern, the cut, the finishing, the promise of ethical production, and, above all else, you pay for the brand name.
All this is to say that I was tickled to see that The Row’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection has introduced the Owen Runner for men and women.
The Owen Runner is a sneaker so normal as to defy description. Like, what’s there to say about this shoe besides the fact that it’s a beige shoe made in Italy with minimalist paneling, a gum sole, suede zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….
JK it’s a nice shoe. But it’s not a unique shoe. You’ve got comparable “minimalist running shoe” silhouettes being made at every price point from mall brand to four-figure splurge. And though The Row doesn’t get that pricey, the Owen Runner still costs an imposing $695-$720, depending on sizing.
But therein lies the Olsen Effect. The Owen Runner is mostly sold-out in women’s sizes on pre-order, just like that Ciles Top.
Just goes to show the power of a good bit of branding. A little aesthetic goes a long way.
This is the kinda stuff you can probably expect to learn in Kris Jenner’s Masterclass, now that I think of it. Everyone who isn’t the Olsen Twins, take note.