Kate Spade’s iconic brand lives on in AU students' fashion

The revolutionary icon continues to influence the fashion industry

Kate Spade’s iconic brand lives on in AU students' fashion

The Kate Spade brand and reputation lives on about six months after the fashion icon’s suicide in June. The company has decided to move forward and continue producing new designs and products to let the spirit of the founder live on.

According to the New York Times, a series of collections will be released over the next few months. The collection will include exclusive designs that Spade worked on before her passing as well as homages to her guiding spirit.

Spade, a fashion designer, businesswoman and retail icon who is known for her Kate Spade New York products was an icon in the fashion industry, revolutionizing the way people looked at women in business environments.

The fashion designer was known for her dedication to modern elegance in fashion and bright, youthful designs that were passed down for generations. The business was founded in 1993 by Spade alongside her husband and business partner, Andy Spade. The brand has since evolved from handbags to accessories to home goods, stationary and more. The couple sold the business in 2006 and started a new brand, Kate Valentine, in 2016.

“It’s a tragic loss for the the fashion industry,” Elle magazine reported in their article remembering the designer.

Spade was a notable alum of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority during her collegiate years at Arizona State University where she studied journalism before becoming a mogul in the fashion world. Growing up, Spade wanted to be a television producer, not a fashion designer.

Spade started her brand because she was frustrated by the monotony of her era. She found handbags to be over-accessorized and tasteless. She later told the New York Times that she wanted a bag that was “functional, sophisticated, and had some style.”

The Kate Spade brand was born in 1993, and quickly gained the attention of consumers due to its creative outlook on the products they designed and produced. After her first show, Spade featured her labels at the front of her bag, establishing her place within the fashion industry. Her empire followed suit. Not only did she inspire women to be bold, she also advocated for the females within the business professional world. She motivated women to “leave a little sparkle behind” and dared them to dream.

“She was a style icon,” said Ira Silverberg, who wrote a book about the Spades while he was working at the literary agency Donadio & Olson. Silverberg is now an editor in the New York publishing business.

According to the Pew Research Center, women who hold high ranks in their careers face more pressure than their male counterparts. With this, Spade aimed to equalize the playing field. She believed that women shouldn’t have to give up their femininity to hold their positions and provide for themselves. Her bold prints refused social inequities and definitely made a lasting impression to anyone who dared to question it.

In 2007, she sold the Kate Spade brand to Liz Clairborne Inc. and started her own philanthropy called the Kate Spade & Company Foundation. The foundation was focused on promoting economic equality for women. According to USA Today, the Kate Spade Foundation will donate $1 million towards suicide prevention and will also be giving the Crisis Text Line, a free 24 hour confidential text messaging service, $250,000 for people in crisis.

AU student Sierra Serinese owns a Kate Spade wallet and purse. She said that it was her first designer product given to her as a gift at the age of 14. It’s been with her a long time, she said, and has aged well for a designer bag.

Sierra adds that Kate Spade always has good colors for the season that are trendy and cost-friendly. When she was gifted her unique Kate Spade bag, Sierra said she felt more mature and took the bag as a start to her journey to womanhood.

“Kate Spade makes women stand out through fashion,” Serinese said. “The brand defies the notion that women should dress to blend in.”

College of Arts and Sciences junior Kaela Tidus, who owns a Kate Spade purse, said that the brand highlights femininity to her. Tidus said that Kate is a very feminine name and the brand shows off it’s unique colors and patterns to perfectly portray the classy but affordable gal.

Tidus said the products inspire confidence for women in male-dominated professions.

“It’s very sad, no one thinks that people of wealth have issues,” Tidus said of Spade’s death. “Money isn’t happiness. As a psychology major, I believe that it’s not being talked about enough.”

A day after Spade’s suicide, her husband Andy released a statement recalling her severe depression and anxiety. He also stated that his wife was actively undergoing treatment for her anxiety and depression for the past five years.

“We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how,” he said.

If you are suffering from depression or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) for free and confidential support.


Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle

Would you like to support our work? Donate here to The Eagle Innovation Fund.