Two months after her death, we remember Kate Spade and the large impact she leaves on fashion for American women. For many, the tragic passing of Spade this past June was an extreme shock. Known for her exquisite designs of handbags and shoes that has turned into an empire, including clothing and all things “girly,” Spade was a fashion icon of our time. She had an eye that crafted classic and preppy designs that could make any woman feel beautiful.
The unfortunate reality is that Spade’s fashion, although an outlet for her for many years, was not able to make her feel the way that her fashion was able to make many others feel – at least not for long enough. Spade’s husband said that she had attempted to find relief from her depression which had become severe.
We see a trend of the public hearing of suicides among well-known artists and celebrities, and soon forgetting about and dismissing the problem at hand. Time and time again as the months pass on, less people discuss their deaths and what could have been done differently to change the lifestyle of those who are suffering. Spade’s suicide brings mental health to the public eye in a big way, and hopefully we can begin making bigger changes and bring more awareness to such a tragic issue than ever before.
Spade’s legacy lives on as a positive one, and women will cherish her designs for years to come. Spade changed the meaning of “handbag” and created the look of an era for adult women.
A NY Times article stated, “Her name became shorthand for the cute, clever bags that were an instant hit with cosmopolitan women in the early stages of their careers and, later, young girls — status symbols of a more attainable, all-American sort than a Fendi clutch or Chanel bag.”
An editor before she became a designer, Spade had an eye for fashion and a status symbol was quickly made out of her purses.
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue said in a statement on Spade, “everyone thought that the definition of a handbag was strictly European, all decades-old serious status and wealth. Then along came this thoroughly American young woman who changed everything, there was a moment when you couldn’t walk a block in New York without seeing one of her bags, which were just like her: colorful and unpretentious.” This expression of Spade’s impact goes to show how she was so very crucial in the fashion industry at the time.
Spade was able to use her love of fashion in the darkest of times and bring confidence to women through her designs. Let us allow her life and death to be a reminder that one can use their passions to bring themselves joy, but once that is not enough, there is always a way to look for help and seek relief from suffering no matter how severe it gets.