Kate Spade: more than her mental health

The amazing woman behind the brand

By Ashleigh Henry |

Kate Spade is probably a name known to the majority women in the Western world. This is due to her iconic fashion brand named after herself.

However anyone watching or reading the news in the past week will now know Kate Spade as not just a name, or a brand, but as a woman who lost her life to suicide.

While mental health awareness is important and this does – yet again – demonstrate that money and fame don’t buy happiness, I think it is so important to remember that she was an amazing fashion designer, a mother, a wife, and a daughter. The method of suicide and the relationship between Kate Spade and her family or friends is not important information or relevant.

Keeping this in mind, I want to recall 5 interesting facts about Kate Spade to keep in mind what is important, the amazing woman behind the brand.

1. Her degree was in journalism.

Spade went to the University of Kansas and later transferred to Arizona State University. She spent 5 years writing for the magazine ‘Mademoiselle’ until 1991. For those who aren’t familiar with the magazine, Sylvia Plath worked with the magazine in 1953, and her experiences helped to inspire parts of her novel ‘The Bell Jar.’ Clearly, the magazine wasn’t the same without Spade though, as it produced its final issue ten years later!

2. The first Kate Spade handbag is known as the ‘Sam’ bag.

The Sam bag arrived in the 90s shortly after Spade officially created her brand in 1991. The bag was black and a simple box shape tote, made of nylon. The bag was brought back in 2018 for the brand’s 25 year anniversary, showing how Spade’s designs are truly timeless.

3. Spade wanted her bags to put the fun back into functional

In an interview with The Boston Globe in 1999, Spade commented on her frustration that designers make a choice between functional or fun. “Handbags should be both. That’s what designers were forgetting.” She then went on to make the point “So many bags can hold a kitchen sink but they’re just big black bags.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. If anyone needs proof just check out her notorious Taco Bell truck bag.

4. Kate was appreciative of all artwork

In a tour of her home with People magazine, Kate Spade shows her wide array of work, wall to wall paintings in her living room and hallway. She explains some of her favorite pieces and why truly showing what an eye for creativity and aestheticism she had. But the most beautiful moment is when she shows her daughter’s scribbles amongst the famous works because “she deserves as much credit in this room… I want her work to feel as important.” Kate Spade’s beautiful philosophy gives insight into what a great mother she was.

5. She was down-to-earth

“I buy so much fake jewelry, it’s funny. It’s not real. I don’t wear real diamonds or anything.” While her handbags and accessories aren’t exactly budget-worthy, they are cheap for a designer brand. Clearly, Spade was a normal human who loved a bargain like the rest of us, as well as the occasional luxury. It’s always refreshing when money does not taint a celebrity. So that’s 5 things about Kate Spade, hopefully, a clearer picture has been created of the kind of woman she was, and hopefully, we can appreciate the tragedy of her life being cut so short, and the saddening circumstances due to her mental health. But also let us reflect on what a cool, funny and unique woman she truly was.

Kate Spade née Brosnahan

About Ella Thwaits 24 Articles
Ella is currently working hard to recover from an anxiety disorder and spends her time writing blog posts (www.ellathwaites.co.uk), reading, sewing, and listening to music. Ella received an A in GCSE English and has always enjoyed writing.

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