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An iconic name that represents fashionable designs and color schemes that bring joy and ease. So much so, that it seems unfathomable that at age 55, with a husband and 13 year-old daughter, she would take her life. How could a successful, inspiring woman who made millions so happy end up in a place so desperate? Surely, we’ll hear a lot of speculation, fact, and opinion all mixed together in upcoming media reports.
We’ve already seen many tributes to Kate’s life and work including this one from the New York Times. We at SheSpark wanted to share a few items that captured our hearts and focus on celebrating the contemporary American designer’s accomplishments and contributions.
Here’s what we love…
Kate Spade Branded (and Rebranded) Herself
Born Katherine Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri, Kate used her married name “kate spade” for her accessories brand that focused on handbags, which launched in the 1990s. The use of lower case letters wasn’t just modern, it appeared approachable and informal. In 2016, she changed her name to “Kate Valentine” in preparation for the launch of her new accessories line Frances Valentine. Her daughter’s name is Frances. According to a Hollywood Reporter article, Kate wanted the change to signify her focus on the new brand, saying, “the change is meant to differentiate what she had done in the past with what she is focused on currently. “It really was to distinguish the name, and separate the two worlds,” she said. “Obviously we’re super proud of Kate Spade and we want to be respective of both.” She lived and breathed her brands, and we love Kate for it.
Kate Supported Women’s Economic Empowerment
When Kate officially left Kate Spade in 2007, she put her energy toward raising her daughter and philanthropy. In establishing the Kate Spade & Company Foundation, she was able to support women in Rwanda with the On Purpose line of accessories (designed in New York, made in Rwanda). Groups like Coalition for Queens, Girls Who Code, and the International Rescue Committee all benefit from grants the foundation offers in technology, arts, and entrepreneurship. The foundation, as of 2016, granted about $1.2 million annually to non-profits. We love Kate for it!
If you would like to honor Kate’s memory by way of a donation, click here to learn more about matching gifts.
Kate Loved Working With Her Husband
Kate and Andy Spade (also brother to actor/comedian David Spade) have been married 30 years, a feat in itself. In this interview, Kate and Andy talked to BUILD Series in 2017 about their working relationship and how their combined strengths result in successful businesses. We love them both for it!
Kate’s Signature: A Great Updo
In this CNN interview from 2002, Kate explains her childhood style icon, love of fashion, and early obsession with her [now] iconic updo. Have we ever seen her without one? Classic, always stylish, with a bit of drama. We love Kate for it!
Kate’s Husband Started Sleepy Jones Loungewear
After years of working at Kate Spade, started the Sleepy Jones pajama/underwear collection for both men and women. While Kate was not involved with the brand, Andy admits they share the same aesthetic. Collaborations with artists (like John Derian) add fresh insights to each collection. We love Andy Spade for it!