Ashley & MK Olsen ‘are the best line at ripping off other lines,’ says celebrity stylist

Somebody bring out a saucer of milk, because there’s going to be a catfight. Not just any catfight – a hair-pulling, lemon-sucking, creepy twin-brain’d fashion industry catfight. Maybe I’m overselling it. But it seems like someone major within the industry has finally had the cojones to finally shade Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. MK and Ashley run several successful fashion lines, including Elizabeth & James, lines for JC Penney and Wal-Mart, and their most successful and high-end endeavor, The Row. The Row is the A-list, upper-crust, expensive line which gave us such items as the $17,000 fur handbag and the infamous $39,000 alligator backpack. The Row also features $300 tank tops and $4000 leather dresses. You know, just because.

Ashley and MK have won big fashion awards and lots and lots of praise for their minimalist, classic styles. Personally, I believe that they are actively involved with designing and producing The Row. But one “celebrity stylist” begs to differ. Lysa Cooper shaded the Olsens HARD:

Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen have built a successful fashion empire over the years, launching high-end labels like The Row and Elizabeth & James. Despite their financial and critical successes, however, one celebrity stylist has accused the 27-year-old twins of ripping off other designers. Speaking to Vogue Italia, Lysa Cooper — who’s worked with Rihanna and Elizabeth Hurley — disses the popularity of celebrity fashion lines.

“The only one that’s any good, and I hate to say it, are our girls, the twins. The Row. But the reason that works, is because they hired designers. They ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ [the concepts]. And they are the best line at ripping off other lines that I’ve ever seen,” she says of the former child actresses. “I mean, they’ve taken Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester. But it’s good. You know, they’re good at it. I don’t buy it, but they’re good at it.”

Cooper insists she would never do a clothing line of her own. “There is enough crap being produced and enough kids making it. Nobody needs another pair of jeans, a t-shirt or a pair of sweatpants.”

Cooper says real fashion designers should “go to school” first. “If you go to school, then maybe you can talk some sh-t.”

The Olsen twins, who transitioned from Hollywood as students at New York University, are used to such criticisms. In a 2011 Newsweek cover story, Ashley opened up about the challenges they faced before launching The Row in 2007. “With the retailers, we dealt with some tough cookies,” she admitted. “Their attitude was, ‘Who do these girls think they are?'”

“It definitely took time to earn people’s respect,” added Mary-Kate.

According to Ashley, “We really want The Row to be an American luxury brand. We believe in not just American by representation but American by make.”

[From Us Weekly]

I think Cooper has a point about most celebrity clothing lines, and that’s why many of these celeb lines fail (side-eye at J.Lo and Justin Timberlake). The only other person besides the Olsens who I can think of who really has succeeded to some degree in the fashion industry is Jessica Simpson. But Jessica doesn’t even have a big, elite line like The Row. She just does affordable, mass-market clothing in department stores. Oh, and Posh Beckham. She’s right up there with the Olsens.

As for the accusation that the Olsens aren’t really designing, that they have professionals doing it… I’m not so sure. As I said, I buy that that Olsens are really in there, making a lot of decisions about what The Row’s “look” is going to be. Do they have lots of other designers in there to help them realize their vision? Of course. So does every other major designer. As for the accusation that The Row copies other designers… well, they wouldn’t be the first. Last year, the best of Stella McCartney’s line looked like Tom Ford for Gucci circa 2002. Victoria Beckham flat-out copies Roland Mouret. Balmain’s latest stuff looks like Balenciaga from a decade ago. And on and on.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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42 Responses to “Ashley & MK Olsen ‘are the best line at ripping off other lines,’ says celebrity stylist”

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  1. DanaG says:

    You forgot about the Kardashians they rip off everyone badly. There are only so many ways to design a dress I like The Row I wouldn’t buy them I couldn’t afford too but I do like the Olsen designs. Sounds like someone didn’t get an outfit she wanted for a shoot. LOL

  2. Aiobhan says:

    I stopped caring after she admitted she styled Beyonce and Rihanna. Everyone starts off paying homage/ripping off other designers until they start figuring things out for themselves. And they have done so with ease over the years.

    I wonder what she would have to say about some of the more established designers ripping off other designers then I will take this woman more seriously than I do now. It is easy to pick on the Olsen twins as they are just starting out. Try getting on Michael Kors or Tom Ford for being a tacky mess and then we got a real story.

    • DeeG says:

      Why do some ppl. choose to point out these women over and over again is it just because they’re the two biggest female singers out there or maybe something … a little dirtier. I suspect the latter the ugliness just comes out doesn’t it. As much as i roll my eyes at Ms Swifty i do appreciate her music and can separate her personal from her professional life. Why cant you do the same for these two???

      • LFord says:

        Perhaps Aiobhan just doesn’t care for the way Beyonce and Rihanna dress/are styled and therefore doesn’t value the opinion of this particular stylist. Doesn’t have to do with anything “…dirtier” as you say. At least that’s how I read it.

      • Aiobhan says:

        @ DeeG Seriously? Did you even read the article? The only thing you can comment on is that I was barely throwing shade at Beyonce and Rihanna. To be clear: I am only talking about their fashion choices. I could not care more about their personal choices if I tried.

        BTW. I only listen to death metal and jazz so I cannot comment on their music. And I don’t wish to start.

      • Dhavynia says:

        Because they’re trashy and don’t have a sense of style and Swifty can actually sing without having to show her boobs and ass to distract us from their singing

      • Bridget says:

        Beyonce and Rihanna tend to have only okay styling. Beyonce doesnt tend to do anything very interesting with her clothes, and Rihanna does tend to skew trashy (think of Rihanna’s clothing line) though I think Rihanna’s look is way more interesting. But I would be just as skeptical if this statement came from Taylor Swift’s stylist. There’s only so many sparkly minidresses and princess dresses in the world. Boring.

    • Meaghan says:

      +10000 Aiobhan, my sentiments exactly. And to the responses to her comments, it wasn’t at all about music so I don’t get why that is being brought up.

      I’m a thrash metal girl myself, but def have love for death metal as well 🙂

      You know, I have a lot of love for the Olsen twins. They’ve done amazingly well, escaped the child star curse, and seem to really love fashion and what they are doing. There is always so much hate on them, but I respect them (And their ability to keep their ‘party favors’ on the DL, unlike others I will not name)

  3. A says:

    I just wish the fashion industry would stop with the fur already.

  4. Lucybelle says:

    I couldn’t care less about fashion so I won’t comment on that. I will just say that these girls look SO boring, like they do not enjoy life at all. I don’t think I’ve seen a genuine toothy smile from either of them since Full House.

    • Belle Epoch says:

      You put your finger on it for me. They always look like “we’re so over this.” Actually they seriously creep me out. And the prices of The Row – you could feed an entire African village for the price of a backpack. Gross.

    • capepopsie says:

      Boring AND oldish. Really dont know why, but that´s the impression I get of the two. Shucks!

    • blannie says:

      And they ALWAYS pose standing chest-to-chest. How weird is that? When was the last time you took a picture with a friend where you stood with your boobs almost touching? I find that so strange.

    • Meaghan says:

      How are they any different from Vicky Beckham?

    • Lara says:

      They outright creep me out and the fact that they’re designers yet are the worst styled celebs out there doesn’t help.

  5. melina says:

    It is so difficult to create something original in a time when we have seen pretty much everything!I mean it is understandable to see ressemblances among the designs!Anyway i am not an expert and i am not familiar with their clothing line.I am just sayin

    • YoungHeartOldSoulNewView says:

      I agree, everything is pretty much inspired by something that has already been done, and since fashion trends are cyclical we are bound to see repeats over and over. Unless a new material is discovered or people need a type of uniform for a new function then people will continue “ripping off” each other.

  6. bns says:

    Ashley aged better. I love her hair in the last set of pics.

  7. Micki says:

    What exactly is Ms Cooper’s problem?
    I haven’t read which designers the twins has ripped off and when…and of course likeKaiser writes it’s not unheard of..

    Oh, and they’Ve hired designers! I’ve just seen Victoria Beckam with a needle and scissors in my mental eye.
    What irrirates more? The success? Or the rip off?

  8. Anna says:

    Surprised that you don’t consider Beckham a successful celeb-designer, Kaiser. She has long established herself with the stores, the industry, and the celebs – big and small – who don’t just wear her clothes bc of any kind of personal friendship/Hollywood posse allegiance.

  9. Karen says:

    Victoria Beckhams lines copy Roland Mouret and Miu Miu (for the cheap line). But everyone says how is great. The Fashion industry, not just celeb designers, has been recycling and copying designs the past few years. So I’m not surprised at The Row or VB or anyone doing it. Just miss those kooky designers who really used to innovate.

  10. doofus says:

    what I don’t like about their “Row” line is the the RIDICULOUS prices.

    you can get identical items at a place like Banana Republic or Ann Taylor (or even “lesser” brands at Nordstrom) that cost a fraction of what they charge.

    $1200 for a plain white “man’s style” blouse? or $800 for a pair of khakis? and those were the prices few years ago.

  11. Anon says:

    Kardashins are absolutely the worst at copying and have had the most lawsuits with infrindgements

    Now in saying that I don’t believe there is a designer alive that hasn’t taken an idea from someone else and made changes to make it there own or think it should be a certain way. You can have all the schooling you want and it still doesn’t make you any better then the other one with a certain idea. It’s all nonsense. People are going to buy what they like and for many what they can afford in the real world

  12. Talie says:

    They don’t hide in interviews that they don’t sketch or do the classic work of a designer.

  13. Lulu86 says:

    i think most of these celebrity clothing lines are just as popular as the celebrity behind them at the time. When someone has had a line for at least 15 years then i can give them my respect, and the Olsens has been little moguls since they were 6 so good for them. P Diddy has actually survived a long time

  14. Mayday says:

    She’s right, but you know what??

    A lot of famous designers just “yay or nay” the concepts, so….

    • Gia says:

      Perhaps after many years of education, apprenticeships, sketching, styling, creating, designing and establishing a look and style of their own they hire people to continue their legacy…but not the VB’s and MKAO’s of the world. They do it off the bat. To try and compare these broads to Lagerfeld (who still sketches) or Jacobs or Kors or Lauren is ridiculous.

  15. Kaytee says:

    LAMB does pretty well, no?

  16. Kate says:

    Sorry, I have to point out, again, that Jessica Simpson simply sold her name to Camuto. The Jessica Simpson line is really a lower end line for Camuto. JS is NOT a designer.

  17. Gretchen says:

    Don’t have many feelings about this, but I can get behind the Olsen twins decision to make their products 100% in the US when so many other top designers sub contract the labour out to countries with crappy labour laws.

    • Nina W says:

      I like that too, I hope it’s true. But no on the $39k backpack line, that’s just obscene.

  18. diva says:

    They seem so creepy and weird

  19. JD says:

    My problem is NONE of these so-called “celebrity” designers have ever drafted a pattern, draped fabric, sketched, or done any of the things associated with actually designing clothing.

    The only one I can give faint praise to is Hillary Duff. I know she sews, and she did come out with a line of patterns for young girls a few years back. I doubt she drafted those, though. I do give her credit for trying to get kids interested in sewing, however.

    I’m willing to bet none of these “designers” can even sew on a button.

  20. Samtha says:

    As has already been mentioned, most fashion houses have many young designers who do the bulk of the work while the creative director decides the direction for the season and yeas and nays things.

  21. Mia says:

    I’m not, nor will I ever be impressed with any of their fashions-they can’t even dress themselves in properly fitting, tailored clothing that compliments their bodies! But one of my friends interned for them and said that MK & A were heavily involved with their fashion company and that during Fashion Week in NYC they were there all hours of the day and night, working as hard as everyone else to make sure that their collection was ready for the runways. I just can’t stand the fact that they did not go to fashion school and that they probably can’t construct garments by graphic design nor do they probably know how to do fashion drawings. Worse, they probably can’t even sew a garment together. This is what Lysa Cooper is probably talking about. A lot of other people had to go to fashion school and learn their basic fashion P & Q’s or work their way up from the bottom with basic technical talent and a great eye for style, but these trolls rolled into this industry on fame and millions of dollars that practically no one else has. And they can’t even dress themselves and don’t have such a great eye for style.

  22. Sugarrbunny says:

    Michael Kors entire career is ripping off designs. Try & fine anything that’s an original. You cannot. But seriously who ever believed these two were “actual” designers?

  23. xxx says:

    Oh please, barely any of the big designers actually design anymore. DVF is pretty much all designed by teams of over-worked, unpaid interns who work under a few lowly paid designers. Phoebe Filo famously did all of the actualy heavy design work for Stella McCartney back in the day. They often give a general stylistic direction, yay or nay concepts, refine things and maybe design a couple of key pieces themselves. There are of course exceptions, but that is a common practice in fashion.

  24. xxx says:

    Oh and Jessica Simpson makes close to a billion dollars off her fashion empire. She may be low-brow but the girl is successful!

    • Barhey says:

      That’s a fallacy. JS licensed her name to Vince Camuto. He already sells successful fashion (primarily footwear) under his own name via the Camuto Group, and it wasn’t much of a stretch to sell the same shoes with a new name on them.

      Jessica Simpson’s business team was simply smart enough to make the decision to licence her name to a successful and growing brand. She didn’t have to do anything except sit there and wait for royalties to roll in.

      That being said, though the JS brand is very successful, selling almost a billion dollars so far, that obviously does not all go to Jessica. Forbes has a much better estimate of $15 million for the 2010 fiscal year.

  25. moon says:

    I work in the industry and what she says about the olsen twins’ line is pretty accurate.