Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to put out a line of ‘affordable’ purses

When we’re talking about ‘affordable’ purses, everything is incredibly relative when it comes to the Olsen twins. Through their Elizabeth and James line, these two have purses that cost astronomical sums. There’s a patchwork fur monstrosity that retails for $17,000, an unremarkable alligator backpack that costs more than any car I’ve owned, and some purse “art,” by controversial artist Damien Hirst that costs $55k for some pills hot glued to that same alligator backpack. So now these two are going “downmarket” with purses that retail for $125 for the itty bitty clutches to $625 for the purses that can probably hide an entire human head, judging from the giant bags they normally carry. Is that an improvement? Here’s more:

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, 26, may have been the masterminds behind The Row’s $55,000, prescription pill-encrusted, crocodile-leather backpack, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about the little people. According to WWD, the child stars-turned-designers will be launching their first line of bags for their more affordable brand, Elizabeth and James, this summer.

And what constitutes “affordable” to the famously wealthy twins, whose business empire has an estimated worth of $1.5 billion? Their small leather goods will be priced in the $125 to $395 range and bags will cost $395 to $625.

Calling them leather goods is perhaps doing them a disservice, though: Among the materials the fashion-forward sisters have chosen for their accessories are haircalf, New Zealand lambskin accented with stamped lizard trim, and Italian suede.

“We wanted the price point to be strong,” Mary-Kate told the trade publication. “The price point is below [Alexander] Wang and [Phillip] Lim but above Marc [Jacobs] and Tory [Burch].”

“And Rebecca Minkoff,” Ashley added. “We wanted these bags to be affordable.”

[From US Weekly]

Well, as for whether they’re ‘affordable’ that’s up to debate. I shouldn’t talk as I love Coach purses and I’ve carried them for over 10 years. I usually get a new one about every 18 months or so, but I bargain hunt and use coupons. (Coach sent me a credit recently for a purse I mailed in to them to be repaired for a broken zipper. I would have actually preferred to have had the purse fixed, but of course I just upgraded to a newer model. They send great coupons by email too! I got $100 off. I sound like a commercial, right?) So I have no room to talk when I stretch my budget to carry Coach purses that cost about the same. The Olsen twins want to move into a new market and they’re working on it. It’s not a bad idea, actually, and will earn them more positive publicity as compared to their luxury stunt purses.

Photos are from May and October, 2012. Credit: FameFlynet and

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47 Responses to “Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to put out a line of ‘affordable’ purses”

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  1. booger says:

    Somebody get those two a line of affordable bathing products, deodorant, and lice shampoo.

  2. DeltaJuliet says:

    Everything’s relative I guess. It’s not like they would have any clue what is affordable to a normal person. For $625 I could heat my house for about a month and a half in this frigid winter we’re having. And that’s more important to me than one of their ugly purses. Not that they have any idea about worrying about things like heat. And food.

  3. Tessa says:

    I think Coach is affordable, relative to the price of every other decently made bag out there. I won’t spend more than $300 on a bag, and it better be practical, and I have to have it forever. No trends, just classics for me.

    • littlestar says:

      Same, I think Coach is affordable too. And they are even more affordable if you buy them at the outlet stores (usually about $200 for a bag).

    • TQB says:

      I was a huge Coach fan for years, but they got to be so trendy a few years ago that I haven’t even been to a store in forever. I liked their stuff because it was well-made, quality leather and classic. Last time I went in they had none of that classic stuff, and everything had big fat Cs all over it.

      A high quality leather purse that you love, that you carry to work/in life every day, is worth spending more on. Maybe not $625, but to be honest, most of the bags at that price point are too flashy/trendy to be something I know I will carry for years.

      Plus, a timeless designer bag that is well-cared for is easy to resell on eBay after a year or two.

      • teenydj says:

        I completely agree with you about Coach. Selling those bags at such a deep discount in their outlet stores has really cheapened their brand, and I’m really not thrilled with how tacky and trendy their style has gotten. If I spend a few hundred bucks on a bag I don’t want it to be something so ubiquitous and downmarket that every high schooler is also carrying it.

        I’ve become a huge devotee of Brahmin. Its the same kind of high quality materials, workmanship, and classic styling that you used to see in Coach bags. They have thoughtful touches like key hooks and magnetic pockets that make them very convenient to use, too. And the suede lining is so soft! I love buying them because they’re so timeless that I can picture my three girls fighting over them when I’m older. To me, that seems likes good investment.

      • mystified says:

        I think it’s sad what Coach has done to their once great bags. They used to look so gorgeous and classy in the 80′s now they’ve become overdone and down market. Sort of like Janice Dickinson.

      • ladybert62 says:

        Hi TQB: I agree with everything you said about coach and that is when I stopped looking/buying them also – they now look so trashy.

    • DSS says:

      I actually switched from Coach to JCrew’s leather bags. Really well made with excellent tumbled Italian leather.

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      There is a red patent leather Coach bag that I see every.single.time I walk by the damn store and I drool every time. What I wouldn’t do to get that bag…..

    • smartyparty says:

      You will maybe all take this offensively but hey it’s celebitchy after all! I have never spent more than $40 on a bag. I own an array of gorgeous leather and embroidered bags from all around the world, and I get complemented all the time. I go to Goodwill and buy bags given away by people who waste $300+ on a new designer bag every year or so. Get a grip on yourselves spending money on things like this! I feel like it’s some foolery and it has got you all under its spell. You do not need to be spending money on things like this, and if you HAVE such excess cash think of the good it could do for others who have literally nothing.

      I’m laughing all the way to the bank with my hand sewn bag from Ecuador.

  4. cmc says:

    That *is* affordable for capital-f FASHION. Personally, I like spending my money on far too many running shoes and Lululemon gear, so I’ll pass.

  5. littlestar says:

    Do you mean their Elizabeth and James line?

    They seem like decent designers. Kudos to them for actually trying to do something with their lives and not hold onto being child actors (Lindsay Lohan could learn from them). I’d love to own something from their Row line one day – they look like classic basics but with an edge.

  6. Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

    It’s seems like Mary-Kate’s nose is collapsing, no?
    Sad. That’s a lot of blow, before you’re even 30.

  7. Gine says:

    I can’t even fathom how much money these two have. I mean, good for them, I guess–they’re obviously very business savvy, or at least smart enough to hire savvy people. But it’s insane how rich they are.

  8. bea says:

    I’m sorry, but who the heck would consider carrying one of their bags a “status symbol”? If you were going to waste $17k on a bag, wouldn’t it be from a real luxury goods company and not these…two…things……..

    Also, an “affordable” purse that costs $600? I think the vast majority of women would consider spending that much $ on a purse to be a luxury.

    I realize I’m going to get blasted by the whole Cult of Status Purse Holders, but I find status items to be pathetic, especially if you can barely afford them.

  9. elceibeno08 says:

    Those two ladies clearly are completely out of touch with the rest of us mortals.
    Only the 1% percent people can afford her freaking purses. Even the new line of purses for the ‘pauper’ people are too expensive. Isn’t there anyone out there who can explain to these two girls that most people don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars like they do?

  10. Jenna says:

    Oooh, I’m a total Coach whore! I just bought a new bag and some shoes (they have a sale on now). Also, the Coach Factory online is GREAT! I’d rather have actual nice bags than their monstrosities.

  11. Bowers says:

    Yes, I’m bag whore, and $625 not out of reason–but Coach pretty white middle class bags. Hayden-Harnett, Chloe, Joy Gryson, even Mulberry are edgier.

  12. aims says:

    I love coach. We have an outlet mall here with a coach store and I go there ( does that sound tacky?) But theres a limit to what I’ll spend. I would never spend over two hundred on anything, let alone something from Kate and Ashley.

  13. faun says:

    People need to put more money in their retirement accounts and stop spending money on crap.

  14. Syko says:

    Big Coach fan here too.

    You know what annoys me about these two? They are always smashed up against each other for pictures. I’m sure they would fit in the camera frame even if you stood them side by side and not touching. But it’s always cheeks smushed together, stomachs mashed together, connected at the hip. Looks stupid.

  15. Kayla says:

    At the most I would pay $50 max on purse. I put my life in my bag and know few months later inside will be trashed. Now if we are talking shoes…..

  16. oliveo says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I generally like MK’s style and fashion sense. That being said, I think most of their Elizabeth and James line is either ugly or boring, and their purses are nothing special. Like, I get they’re “high fashion” as designers…. but MK especially dresses like a super rich boho hipster in the pics I’ve seen of her.

  17. KellyinSeattle says:

    I hate how they are always clinging together.

  18. puffy says:

    I like bags, I won’t lie. I justify it by not being in to clothes at all. But I’d never spend over £1000 on a bag. Well, if I become rich I might. But I’m afraid of being mugged or something. It would be a double blow if they got my belongings AND an expensive bag.

    And why Olsens, do I love thee so much? I’ll probably buy one of your new cheaper items (the cheapest of the items).

  19. mac says:

    I know everyone says they look like troll dolls but I feel bad for Ashley because they get grouped together. She still looks cute and normal in my opinion but Mary Kate did something to bad her face

  20. Psyren says:

    Which one is the one on the right? Why does she always look absolutely terrified??

  21. lucy2 says:

    Definitely more affordable, but still more than I would spend on a bag.

  22. Mandy says:

    I don’t care how cheap their purses will be. I just cannot fathom spending my money on stuff made by the Olsen twins.