Mary-Kate’s and Ashley Olsen’s Dualstar Entertainment Group is the latest multimillion-dollar business to come under fire for allegedly using unpaid interns. But executives at the company, which the enterprising sisters built from the ground up, aren’t about to accept the claims of unpaid interns in a new class-action suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The plaintiff Shahista Lalani reportedly claimed to have punched the clock with 50-hour unpaid work weeks.A Dualstar spokeswoman, Annett Wolf, challenged the allegations altogether. Wolf said Tuesday, “As an initial matter, Dualstar is an organization that is committed to treating all individuals fairly and in accordance with all applicable laws. The allegations in the complaint filed against Dualstar are groundless, and Dualstar will vigorously defend itself against plaintiff’s claims in court, not before the media. Dualstar is confident that once the true facts of this case are revealed, the lawsuit will be dismissed in its entirety.”
Lalani declined to comment Tuesday, deferring a request to her attorney Brett Cohen at Leeds Brown Law. Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lalani, a graduate of The New School’s Parsons School of Design, now has her own signature ready-to-wear label. The Row, the twins’ luxury apparel and accessories collection, is under the umbrella of Dualstar, an entity they started as youngsters in 1993 while still appearing on the sitcom “Full House.”
Started in 2006, the company’s name is a nod toward Savile Row as well as its craftsmanship, luxe fabrics and just-right fit. After being named members of the Council of Fashion designers of America in 2009, the Olsen sisters were first honored with the Womenswear Designer of the Year award in 2012, and they won again this year. The Row has also twice been nominated for the CFDA’s Accessories Designer of the Year award this year and last. Their secondary label Elizabeth & James, which they established in 2007, is also part of Dualstar, which houses an array of entertainment and retail assets.