For anyone with even the smallest amount of fashion knowledge, the name Kate Spade should ring a bell. Kate Spade in her 55 years of life on this planet has taught fashion and me several things. In 1991 she left her Senior Fashion Editor/Head of Accessories role at (the now defunct) Mademoiselle Magazine. During her time there she noticed the market lacked fashion forward sensible handbags and decided to create her own. In her NYC apartment with construction paper and scotch tape, she made the prototypes of the handbags we came to know and love. Kate did what many of us can’t, which is to take a chance to bring an idea to reality.
I remember in my younger years I happened to peek into a Vogue magazine, and I saw this simple square shaped handbag with a small simple logo I could barely see. I liked the bag immediately, and my fashion sense hadn’t even developed yet. Years later Kate Spade’s designs expanded to clothing and more, but continued to dominate a niche market for simple, whimsical fashion. Kate Spade turned into an iconic brand that went on to become worth billions. In 1999, 56% of Kate spade was purchased by Neiman Marcus group who then sold it to Liz Claiborne. Most notably in 2017 Tapestry who also owns Coach purchased the entire Kate Spade brand.
I always admired Kate Spade the woman also. I like that she was kind of quirky in her own way. Kate maintained her vision and personality when it came to her designs. Kate Spade also gave back philanthropically via women’s empowerment programs and educational grants. She was still taking creative steps even recently in her creation of a new brand called Frances Valentine.
Sadly Kate decided that suicide is what she needed to find peace. I choose to remember her for her contributions to fashion and beyond. She taught me that it’s ok to be different from the “normal” people. Have a crazy idea? Well it’s ok to take your crazy ideas and give them a shot at making it real. Kate Spade has inspired me to live my best creative life while I am alive.
“If you’re as honest and fair as you can be, not only in business but in life, things will work out. I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend — and a heck of a lot of fun.” – Glamour
Have you even been into a Kate Spade store? Click here to read about the time I went to a Kate Spade fashion party.