#Girlboss: The Success Story Behind Kate Spade

Posted on Apr 5 2018 - 7:00am by Emma Philo

Rate this post

Be honest ladies, which bag is your absolute favorite out of these three?

Criteria 1
Criteria 2
Criteria 3

Kate Spade is now a renowned designer label that has graced Fashion Week catwalks all over the world and is adored by It Girls and Hollywood sirens alike. Still recent to the fashion industry, Kate Spade started to create her eponymous designs in 1993, and it’s been a love affair for fashion and shop-a-holics ever since! Here is how Kate Spade became the Queen of Cool…

Kate Spade (née Broshanan) was born in 1962 in Kansas City, after graduating in journalism, she landed a job with Mademoiselle magazine in New York City. The aim of the magazine? To appeal to independent, motivated young women and to inspire them. Spade made her way up the ladder throughout her five years there and later became senior fashion editor and head of accessories – she definitely knew her stuff! In 1991, she decided to leave and create her own line, even though she had no design experience whatsoever!

So you may be wondering, “What on Earth is she thinking? Leaving such a prestigious job like the one she had?”, but her boyfriend, Andy Spade, encouraged her to dare to dream and at least try! Kate’s first prototypes were in fact made out of paper and tape, trying to find the perfect lines, the perfect fabrics. Not one to go for traditional options like Chanel and Dior, and bored of the black and brown leather options that brands like Coach offered, she wanted to go for something “girly and playful”, just like herself. Basically – she wanted to inject a bit of her personality into her collection. That doesn’t mean to say her projects weren’t to be timeless – she wanted something that would be long-lasting quality-wise but also trend-wise. Trend-driven pieces aren’t always the most practical to wear next season…

It took 2 years of not only paper and tape prototypes, but sometimes even burlap ones, before she opened her first shop in SoHo. For the brand name, she wasn’t yet married to Andy but thanks to his love and support, she decided to mash up their names to create the effortlessly sleek Kate Spade. It just has a ring to it, right?

The turning point in her career as a designer was when she created black nylon bags for trade shows in New York City. Ranging from $100 to $400, retailers such as Barneys and Fred Segal were lining up to stock them – not long after that, competitors such as Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue followed. The preppy, girly feel to the Kate Spade brand really appealed to the fashion industry, and just months after a Vogue editor discovered the bags at a trade show, Kate Spade was featured in an issue, just next to Gucci! This was just the start of the huge celebrity following that it still has today! Though the bags were meant to be timeless, perhaps less trend-driven pieces, Kate Spade bags became a fashion statement – that of sophistication and elegance. The Kate Spade logo – which was obviously a spade – became one of the most recognizable logos in the fashion industry. It had taken the States by storm but thanks to celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow opting for a Kate Spade bag, their following reached across the Atlantic and to other parts of the world.

The phenomenon of Kate Spade and her dedication and hard work was recognized, and just 5 years after leaving her editorial job, the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded her the “America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories” award. After launching stores in hot spots such as Los Angeles, New York City and even Japan, they decided to venture into stationary. Kate Spade was becoming such a prestigious symbol, that even having an organizer gave you some sort of status. But they didn’t stop there – Kate and Andy went into footwear! Then, even menswear with a new line called Jack Spade. Basically, they are an unstoppable couple!

The start of the Naughties marked their new collaborations with Estée Lauder, creating the iconic Kate Spade fragrances, but also Kate’s new adventure – publishing. She started publishing books not just based on fashion, but how to be the hostess with the mostest, and even just her own thoughts on life.

Despite Kate and Andy selling the brand on to start a family, the brand has kept to Kate’s aesthetic and philosophy. It has still got that timeless, preppy vibe we all know and love it for, and now, they have even gone into womenswear. Your whole life could be Kate Spade-zed if you wanted it to – homeware, stationary, perfume, you name it, they’ve got it! It has become the one-stop label for luxurious pieces inspired by their customers. Kate Spade have always stayed on-brand, if not more so over the last few years. Whimsical, playful, girly, preppy… if not all four!

Be Successful Kate Spade Style!

1) Dare to do something out of your comfort zone – Could you imagine our lives, or our wardrobes, if Kate had doubted herself? She had absolutely no designing experience, yet she did it like an absolute pro!

2) Surround yourself with the right people – Andy, now her husband, encouraged her and helped her kick start her dream. Surround yourself with creative and ambitious people, it can only do you good!

3) Don’t stop there – once you have reached your goal, you can always do more, aim higher, and think of an even crazier idea! Never stop!

Cr : Kate Spade New York via Instagram

About the author : Emma Philo

A 23 year old Online Content Assistant and freelance fashion writer. Living in the UK, missing the French lifestyle.

View all posts by Emma Philo