Visiting the World of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen: On The Row’s Instagram

The New York Times’ T Magazine took on the ever-popular topic of Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, the child actors-turned-moguls behind the luxury brand, The Row. In particular, the Times columnist, Haley Mlotek, addresses the notoriously private twins’ lack of personal social media presence and focuses on their brand’s dalliance with everyone’s favorite form of free advertising: Instagram. Here is an excerpt …

They don’t tweet (at least not on Twitter accounts we know about). They don’t use Facebook (that we know of). If they party, it’s not at clubs we’ve ever heard of; if they have unfortunate political views, well, they’re keeping them to themselves. The Olsens don’t use social media because they can’t — there is nothing they can share that their audience doesn’t already think they know.

Instead, their social media presence comes through the Instagram account for The Row. It’s doubtful that the Olsen twins have any direct contact with the Instagram account; it’s most likely a task for an employee who studies their seasonal mood boards and picks from a list of approved inspirations. When it was created, it had the look of a teenager decorating her locker, full of pride over being so precociously sophisticated.

We’re meant to see what these clothes are for: sipping afternoon cocktails on our way to a quick dip in a pool, after which we’ll sit on a very nice piece of furniture. It’s the epitome of understated, adult indulgence, at least as seen by someone (read: me) who only recently started thinking of herself as an adult. The days of safe adolescent icons, banal beloved heroines of eras recently past, are gone. The Instagram has caught up to the Olsens; as they grew into their work as fashion designers, they grew more confident in showing their evolving values, and used this account to do it.

Money talks, but when everyone is talking about a lack of money — the Row was selling $300 T-shirts while #America was going through a recession — luxury adapts by shutting up. Brands hide their logos and start talking about fabrics, cuts and other tastefully silent indicators of power. Simplicity is the safest place to hide extravagance. On Instagram, The Row can hide in plain sight.