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UPDATED: Industry mourns death of designer Kate Spade

Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York apartment in 5 June.

Kate spade interviewed for  channel build series

Kate spade interviewed for channel build series

Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York apartment on 5 June.

The womenswear and accessories designer, 55, is reported to have committed suicide.

Born Katherine Noel Brosnahan, Spade studied journalism at Arizona State University where she met her husband, Andy Spade, while working part-time at a local menswear store.

After graduating in 1985, Spade worked for Mademoiselle magazine in New York where she progressed to the role of accessories editor.

Noticing a gap in the handbag market Spade, her husband, and friend, Elyce Arons, founded the company Kate Spade in 1993.

In 2006, the company was sold to Liz Claiborne for approximately £124m. In 2017, Coach Inc acquired the brand for $2.4bn (£1.8bn).

In 2016, the couple launched a new footwear and accessories brand called Frances Valentine, named after their daughter.

Kate Spade has more than 300 stores globally and is sold in department stores, including John Lewis, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols.

A spokeswoman for Kate Spade New York said in a statement: “Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand. Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time.”

Industry figures have paid their respects to the designer.

Oliver Tress, CEO at Oliver Bonas, told Drapers: “[Kate] broke the mould and created a new category with her company. She took having fun seriously. I was only just thinking about Kate recently as I admire what she did with the company. The Kate Spade brand story helps me to consider the direction we would perhaps like our company to go.”

Debbie Hewitt, chairman at White Stuff, said: “Kate Spade has been incredibly influential, she really was the first one to make her handbags the ‘it’ bag, everyone had to have one. Before her, people probably thought there was nothing else you could do to a handbag, yet she was very creative and her products were iconic. It’s such tragic news and she will be missed.”

Sam Hood, founder and creative director of etailer and Kate Spade stockist Amara said:At Amara, Kate Spade has always been a popular brand and we’ve always been so proud to have it on board. It’s such a playful, colourful and fun brand that has always been at the forefront of the lifestyle business. She’s always been such a visionary – the design world has lost a true talent and my thoughts go out to her family and team.”

 

 

 

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