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Your lifestyle, your quirk
We constantly hear about the stylish musings of many designers. Donatella Versace, Stella McCartney, and others are all famed fashion mavens whose designs have appeared on runways and in department stores all over the world. The United States welcomes their designs, importing merchandise worth millions every year from designers based outside the country. However, there are more than a few American designers making their mark on the fashion industry at home and abroad. One of these lovely ladies is famed accessories guru Kate Spade.
Hailing from the Midwest (she was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and attended Kansas University for one year), Spade (nee Brosnahan) graduated from Arizona State in 1985 with a journalism degree, and within a year was working for in the accessories department of now-folded women’s magazine Mademoiselle. After spending five years at the magazine, working her way up to senior fashion editor, she left the publication and began design pursuits. Since Spade recognized a market need for stylish yet pragmatic bags and purses, she spent the next two years researching handbag fabrics, designs, and prices. With funding from husband Andy Spade’s 401K, Spade and design partner Joel Franklin launched “kate spade handbags” (yes, it’s intended to be lowercase) in January of 1993.
At first, the line focused exclusively on handbags, but over the next ten years expanded to include shoes, stationary, beauty products, perfume and more. In 1996, the first kate spade shop opened in New York City’s SoHo district. Her products are also found in stores from Bloomingdales to Macy’s. Spade eventually sold her business to The Nieman-Marcus Group in 1999, but still wields heavy influence within the brand. And she wasn’t done yet; “kate spade at home,” a home collection brand featuring linens, bath items, and various homewares, was launched in 2004.
As a sorority girl who also worked at a motorcycle bar during her college years (Omega chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma), Spade exudes high fashion and down-home charm, a parallel signature of her designs. In 2004, she released several books detailing her personal fashion ethos and life outlooks. Kate and her husband Andy welcomed daughter Frances Beatrix in 2005. While she has won numerous awards in the fashion realm (Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Best Accessory Designer of the Year, 1998 and awards from Bon Appetit, House Beautiful and Elle Decor for her home collection, to name a few), Spade remains grounded, choosing to stick with the life and fashion philosophy that has carried her so far:
“Think, Travel, Celebrate, Charm, Decorate, Dress, Live – Colorfully.” – Kate Spade’s Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female