Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen launch fashion design contest

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen launch fashion design contest
By Michael Aaron Gallagher

Mary-Kate and Ashley OlsenIn the ever-changing world of young women’s fashion, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen are multi-billion dollar trend-setters. With the launch of their newest clothing line, “Olsenboye” (named for their ancestral Norwegian surname), the popular duo is offering aspiring fashionistas the chance to create an item for their new collection, available exclusively at JCPenney.

As global fashion icons, 23 year-old twins Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have developed the “Mary-Kate and Ashley” brand for Walmart stores, as well as a couture label called “The Row” and a special line of contemporary apparel for men and women named “Elizabeth & James” (after their siblings).

“Olsenboye offers stylish designs at accessible prices for teens,” Ashley told me via email. Modeled after fashion trends from around the world, “Each season is inspired by a different city,” she explained. “Olsenboye’s Spring collection is inspired by New York City.”Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Los Angeles themed apparel will hit stores in the summer and London styles are scheduled to debut in the fall.

In celebration of the brand’s launch, the Olsens created a unique fashion design competition that allows young people to submit their own original sketch to be considered for one of ten prizes.

“We are passionate about giving new talent an opportunity to express their creativity,” Mary Kate said.

Would-be designers between the ages of 13 and 21 can submit a sketch, along with a 250-word summary of why their piece should be chosen for the collection. The Olsens will then select 15 of their favorite entries, which they say demonstrate, “Creative, wearable styles that can be mixed and matched within the Olsenboye collection,” and allow the public to vote for the finalists.

“What a great opportunity for an aspiring designer to create a design for a new line that we at JCPenney are very excited about,” said store manager Mike Falteisek of JCPenney (Carousel Center, Syracuse).

The Grand prize winner will receive a trip for three to meet the Olsens, as well as the chance for their design to be included in a future Olsenboye collection. In addition, they will receive a $1,000 JCPenney giftcard. Nine first prize winners will receive a $500 JCPenney giftcard. All entries must be submitted by March 14.

For more information on the contest rules and submission guidelines visit:

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen launch fashion design contest
Copyright © 2010 by Michael Aaron Gallagher
Photographs courtesy of JCPenney

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