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Who Was Kate Spade? Know the Cause of Her Suicide!

American fashion designer Kate Spade was also an entrepreneur and the former co-owner of the luxury label “Kate Spade New York.”

She disposed her her corporate ownership in 2006. She launched the “Frances Valentine” handbag and footwear line in 2016 with the help of her business partners.

Since she began her career in the early 1990s, when she worked for the women’s magazine “Mademoiselle,” Kate Spade has gone a long way. While working in the magazine’s accessories division, Spade recognized the demand for chic purses.

In 1993, she and Andy Spade, founded their own business, “Kate Spade Handbags.” Once a little boutique, Kate Spade Handbags, now known as Kate Spade & Company, has carved out a place for itself in the world of retail.

Kate Spade’s Early Years

Spade was born Katherine Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri. Her parents were Francis (Frank) and June (Mullen) Brosnahan, who managed a business that built roads.

She was primarily of Irish ancestry. Spade attended the University of Kansas after graduating from the all-female Catholic secondary school St. Teresa’s Academy.

Who is Kate Spade?

Later, she changed her enrollment to Arizona State University. She joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, expecting to work in television production after earning a journalism degree in 1985.

She worked in sales at Carter’s Men Shop, a men’s clothes business in Phoenix, while she was in college.

Career Journey of Kate Spade

Kate Spade worked for Mademoiselle in 1986. She was Kate Brosnahan then. She lived with Arizona native Andy Spade at Mademoiselle.

Spade rose from designer to senior fashion editor and head of accessories at Mademoiselle. Spade noticed a lack of elegant, practical purses while working at Mademoiselle.

Handbags were not a fashion-forward accessory till then. Simple keeps for on-the-go essentials. Spade quit Mademoiselle in 1991 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams.

Founder of Kate Spade New York

In January 1993, Kate and Andy established Kate Spade New York. Because she and Andy weren’t yet wed and “Kate Brosnahan” sounded like a complicated name for a fashion line, Spade was first undecided about the name of the company.

She gave a few names some thought, but she decided to go with “Kate Spade” after Andy proposed it because she would adopt the name Spade once they were married.

Scotch Tape and paper were used to create six prototypes by Spade, who then located an East New York manufacturer eager to collaborate with a start-up to construct the bags.

Andy, a former copywriter, withdrew his retirement funds from his 401(k) plan and occasionally paid staff members with personal checks in order to support the business.

The pair lived at friends’ flats throughout the shipping season because their home was crammed with boxed handbags. Spade chose to put the bag labels on the exterior after an early performance at the Javits Center, where the department store chain Barneys had purchased a few bags.

This adjustment took her all night to make but helped establish the brand. Initially only selling handbags, the company quickly began selling clothing, jewellery, shoes, stationery, eyewear, baby products, fragrances, and gifts.


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Spade helped the brand go global when she sold the Neiman Marcus Group a 56% share in her company in 1999. The home collection brand “Kate Spade at home” was introduced in 2004.

It offered bedding, bathroom accessories, crockery, wallpaper, tableware, and a variety of decoration-related things. In Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan, a Kate Spade store has been established.

Spade also wrote three volumes, Manners, Occasions, and Style, about manners, entertainment, and fashion, respectively. In 2006, Spade sold the Neiman Marcus Group her remaining 44% of the company.

The label, which was later renamed Fifth & Pacific, was purchased by Liz Claiborne Inc. from The Group in 2006 for $124 million. In May 2017, Coach, Inc. acquired the business; as a result, Kate Spade and Coach are now a part of Tapestry, Inc.

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Personal Life

When both were still in college in 1983, Kate Brosnahan was introduced to Andy Spade. They later collaborated at the Mademoiselle.

The two fell in love, and in 1994 they ultimately got married. Frances Beatrix Spade, the couple’s daughter, was born in February 2005.

Death of Kate Spade

On June 5, 2018, a housekeeper discovered Spade dead in her Manhattan apartment. Her demise was determined to be a hanging suicide.

She reportedly left a note for her daughter, according to the police. Following the passing of his wife, Andy Spade issued the following statement:

For many years, Kate battled sadness and anxiety. She was actively looking for assistance and collaborating closely with medical professionals to address her sickness, which claims far too many lives.

When we spoke to her the previous evening, she sounded content. There was neither a hint nor a forewarning that she would act in this way. It came as a total surprise. Of course, it wasn’t her. She was fighting some internal demons.

A week after her passing, the Manhattan location of Kate Spade New York (and eventually other locations around the country) put up a sign in its front window that read:

Our company’s brilliant creator Kate Spade has died away. In this tragic moment, our thoughts are with her family. We pay tribute to the beauty she endowed our world with.