Designers in the Spotlight- Kate Spade

Welcome to our newest feature on ResellXL, our special blog on our featured designers! Here at ResellXL, we are proud to host a range of luxury designers who support our vision of gorgeous and stylish outfits for the curvy woman.

In memory of Kate Spade’s devastating death this month, we decided it was only right to highlight her life and career.


The best way to sum up Kate Spade is that she was the first. Before her, many fashion designers were men. From Versace to Yves-Saint Laurent, Kate Spade broke the mold in the early 90’s to become a prolific designer with a style that made her stand out from her male counterparts.

Born in December on Christmas eve, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri, Katherine Brosnahan started her career in 1986 in the accessories department at Mademoiselle magazine, eventually rising to the position of Senior Fashion Editor and Head of Accessories. It was in this role that she noticed a rather large gap in the market, that women’s handbags were either incredibly stylish but highly impractical, or sensible, but not anything individual. She left in 1991.


Brosnahan met her husband Andy Spade whilst she was living in Phoenix Arizona for college. He moved to New York to be with her and became her partner when she decided to leave Mademoiselle to follow her dream to launch her own brand, Spade even withdrawing on his 401k to help launch the company. Initially, Brosnahan was unsure what to call her new company, feeling that “Kate Brosnahan” was not a marketable name. Although not married at the time, Spade suggested combining their names to create “Kate Spade,” a name he thought had a musical ring to it. They made 6 prototype bags with scotch tape and found a manufacturer willing to work with a startup. And so, on January 1993, Kate Spade was launched, eventually expanding from just handbags to include shoes, clothes and even homeware.

Kate and Andy sold a major stake of their business in 1999 to Neiman Marcus, going on to sell the remaining stock in 2006 to focus on raising their daughter Francis. After a gap of ten years however, she was back, with a brand-new label named in honor of her daughter, dropping the name Spade in honor of her Grandfather and brother, Valentine.

What makes Kate Spade bags so unique and distinctive? Apart from being accessible to everybody (bags can retail for as low as $150), they were sophisticated without being boring, and fun without having a cut off age as competitors such as Burberry did. Her brand exploded, with every woman in New York owning one, as Anna Witnour, the editor of Vogue Magazine once remarked. Indeed, in the days after her death, women everywhere took to social media to share their stories of their first Kate Spade bag. Although she separated herself from her eponymous brand by the time of her death, many women still see the designer and the bags as one of the same, colorful, stylish and incredibly sophisticated, ready to take on the world with passion and flair.


Do you have Kate Spade items in your wardrobe that you no longer use? Request a free shipping label today and start turning your unwanted items into cash.

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