"I've never thought of style as something you invent, like trying to come up with the proverbial better mousetrap. I think style is part of the way we live, so it makes perfect sense to me to keep and open mind and explore. Then you can adapt what you have learned and call it your own. That seems fair to me."
Designer Kate Spade was born Katherine Noel Brosnahan and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. After attending an all-girls private high school Spade enrolled at Arizona State University to major in journalism. While in college she worked at a department store where she met her future husband and business partner, Andy Spade (brother of comedian David Spade). In 1986, following graduation Spade began her career in fashion at Mademoiselle Magazine and after four years was appointed Senior Fashion Editor and Head of Accessories. While at the magazine Kate noticed a lack of practical yet stylish handbags and before leaving in 1991, began designing her own. Two years later in 1993, along with her husband, she launched her label ‘Kate Spade Handbags’, with a line of six signature bags. She reinvented the handbag using simple shapes, attractive colors, and a satin finished nylon fabric. The brand became an immediate success and three short years later, in 1996, the CFDA honored Spade with ‘America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories’ award.
In 1998, only two years after her launch, Kate Spade began expanding her product line with the introduction of ‘Kate Spade Paper and Social Stationery’. Also that year, she took home ‘Best Accessory Designer’ at the annual CFDA awards ceremony. In 1999 her much anticipated footwear collection was unveiled while her handbags were included in an exhibit celebrating American design excellence at the Cooper Hewitt Museum. In 2001 Kate Spade debuted her eyewear line, ‘Kate Spade Glasses’, which produces both sunglasses and ophthalmic frames. In the spring of 2002 Spade partnered with Estee Lauder to create both fragrances and bath and body products under the name ‘Kate Spade Beauty’. The next year, ‘Kate Spade at Home’ launched with a line of wallpaper, bedding, bath items, textiles, china and other accessories. Kate’s new home line has to date won her at least three noteworthy awards including; House Beautiful’s Giants of Design for Tastemaker, Bon Appetit’s Designer of the Year, and Elle décor’s International Award for bedding. To date the Kate Spade brand produces lines of handbags, footwear, eyewear, accessories, apparel, jewelry, paper, home, and baby items.
Kate Spade’s inspirations stem from classic fashion pieces such as the Harris jacket, Belgian loafer, poplin trench coat, and the oxford cloth shirt. In 1996 Spade opened her first shop in NYC’s Soho district and currently operates 46 stores throughout the US, 8 shops throughout Asia and her lines are sold in numerous retail establishments worldwide. Spade’s handbags were regularly featured on the television sitcom "Just Shoot Me" as a favorite of Wendy Malick's character. In 2004 Kate Spade designed both male and female flight attendant uniforms for ‘Song’, a low fare airline operated by Delta Air.