Ten years ago, if someone told you that the Olsen twins–they of the matchy-matchy outfits and cheesy made-for-TV-movies–would win the most prestigious fashion design award in America, beating out the likes of Marc Jacobs, you’d laugh. But that’s precisely what happened last night, when Mary-Kate and Ashley took home the CFDA Award for womenswear designer(s) of the year.
Celebrity-designed lines are not exactly rare–but what is rare, is for them to be taken seriously by the industry. So how did the Olsens, who began their careers sharing the role of the adorable Michelle Tanner on Full House, manage to avoid the stigma of the ‘celebrity designer’ and become legitimate creatives and businesswomen embraced by industry? What were they doing differently? What were they doing right?