Yesterday we found out the terrible news that designer Kate Spade had taken her life via hanging herself in her New York home. It’s a tragic loss and I sincerely hope that out of it comes more education on mental health as kate had reportedly been struggling with what her family thought was bipolar disorder for three of four years but never became diagnosed.
I am going to focus on her life and career as a designer and remember her for her amazing work in the industry.
Kate started her career as a accessories editor at Mademoiselle but in 1993 kate set out to design the perfect handbag. She debued a collection of six silhouettes. She focused on combining sleek ,professional shapes with vibrant colour palettes ,which had not been seen before.
Kate and her husband opened their first shop in New York City Soho in 1996 with $35,000 but very quickly made that back. By 2006 the revenue was reportedly $99 Million. (you couldn’t walk anywhere between 1997-2000 without seeing a Kate Spade Nylon bag).
The company didn’t stay private for long and in 1999 56% of the company was bought for $34 Million. And in 2006 the remaining 44% was bought by the same company for $59.4 Million.
The company originally sold handbags and went on to sell stationary and accessories. Now the brand as a clothing line along with their bags/accessories and stationary.
The brand was bought again in 2006 for $126 Million and began to sell in outlet villages and Malls which is how it is best known today.
Although Kate herself hasn’t been involved directly with the brand for over a decade it is very clear she left her mark on the handbag and accessories world. Before Kate Spade handbags were plain and dull, she added the colour and the playfulness which is still a huge trend to this day.
Its is a tragic loss that she is gone but we can be sure that her name will live on and her influence will carry on being seen.