The Row brought back gatekeeping for FW24

The Row brought back gatekeeping for FW24

by Ollie Cox
3 min

There are a few things you can’t take to fashion shows: frozen goods, flares, and when it comes to The Row’s Fall/Winter 2024 collection, mobile phones. That’s right, this morning, The Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson-helmed label invited showgoers to its Fall/Winter 2024 collection, shutting the doors to the outside world, for now anyway.

In place of our camera-clad communication devices, guests were treated to a notebook to document their thoughts while watching the show, just like the old days. The move took us back to the pre-internet age of fashion, before influencers infiltrated the industry. For many, the move was a welcome turning back of the times to the pre-algorithm age, leaving some scratching their heads. The decision comes as even more of a surprise considering the Olsen twins rose to fame in front of a camera, starring in Full House at just six months old. 

But The Row’s FW24 show wasn’t the first time the Olsens have decided to cancel cameras. In 2015, at Mary Kate’s New York wedding, no phones were allowed either. On top of this, the Olsen’s have previously confessed to never shopping online, favouring in-store, analogue methods of doing things. 

The decision to keep the collection from cameras, could further contribute to the brand’s elevated status, where a pair of pleated trousers costs upwards of £1,000. Now, even seeing the collection feels like a luxury, thanks to the lack of visual accessibility offered to people. Having been hailed as a pioneer of the “Quiet Luxury” trend, today’s show reflected this further, with a show so quiet that most people haven’t seen it yet. 

Undeniably, the “no phones allowed” policy is a great way to cut through the Paris Fashion Week noise, getting everyone talking about The Row, in a simple yet effective move. But, it does also feel a little exclusionary, especially in today’s day in age, where people’s interaction with luxury is often through livestreams and videos from the show, engaging potential new customers, and pushing the brand to a wider audience. This is, however, not what The Row is. Despite its wide-reaching appeal, it has stealthily seduced an older generation of buyers, who remember when fashion was always a closed off beacon of cool, for whom today’s proceedings were a trip down memory lane. 

The Row is no stranger to doing things on its own terms, having cemented itself in the luxury sector since being founded in 2006, despite initial scepticism around the Olsen twins’ sitcom rise to stardom. It has, however, won over the style set with its timeless collections, that if they could be reduced to one word, would be described as “chic.” 

Today, the brand presented a collection akin to fashion folklore where only a lucky few were let in, and only adding to the buzz around the brand. Despite its controversial nature, it was “The Row” through and through.

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