Compiled by Kayla Pruitt

Many people are still in shock after hearing news of designer Kate Spade’s death this week. Spade was discovered in her New York apartment on June 5, 2018 after an apparent suicide. She was only 55 years old, and left behind a 13 year old daughter. In remembrance of her untimely passing, here are eight things you may not have known about one of our favorite designers, Kate Spade.

1. Katherine Noel Brosnahan was born on December 24, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri. She grew up in a two-parent household with four other siblings. Her father was a construction worker, while her mother watched after young Kate and her siblings.

2. Katherine Brosnahan graduated in 1985 from Arizona State University, where she studied journalism, a career aspiration she had since childhood.  While attending college, she worked at a motorcycle club and a men’s clothing store. After graduation, she moved to New York and became assistant editor at Mademoiselle magazine, and quickly advanced to be the publications’ accessories editor. During her time as accessories editor, she was determined to create a new trend for women’s handbags.

3. She met her husband, Andy Spade, while in college working at the same clothing store. He is brother to comedian and actor David Spade. Both Kate and Andy founded the Kate Spade New York brand in 1993.

4. Her mother, June, was her biggest fashion role model. In an interview with CNN in 2002, Spade described her anticipation while watching her mother dress, “…I cant wait ’til I can do that, I want to paint my nails, I want to wear lipstick, I want to put my hair up in a hair do…” She mentioned that her mother  encouraged her to dress however she wanted.

5. Kate Spade New York was founded in 1993 (formerly Liz Claiborne). Spade found there was a need for a handbag that was hassle-free yet stylish. Handbags during that time were too flashy, and Ms. Spade created a brand that showcased a stylish and sophisticated look. Placing the label on the outside of the handbag set Kate Spade apart from others.

6. After taking a hiatus in 2007 with her family, Kate Valentine Spade returned to the fashion business by founding Frances Valentine. The brand, also based out of New York, produces an array of colorful shoes, jewelry and handbags.

7. Inspiration for the brand was pulled from everyday life and some of Spade’s favorite countries like the United States, France, and Japan.

8. An interview with People magazine included a glimpse inside Spade’s New York apartment. She admired many genres of visual art and had arranged paintings and drawings on her living room walls. The artwork range from abstract work, sketches of Jackie and John Kennedy, sculptures, and even artwork from her daughter. She mentioned that the artwork she chose embodied her aesthetic style. Many were chosen by her husband, who is a fan of African art. Spade says unlike most people, she actually uses her living room!