Monday, June 11, 2018
Kate Spade: In Memoriam
I'm fairly certain every woman can remember her first Kate Spade purchase. Maybe it was a wallet. Maybe it was a bag. Maybe it was a pair of shoes. For me, the first was the aforementioned wallet - a bright green zip-around envelope wallet with 14 credit card pockets and a clear ID window, to be exact. I bought it at the Kate Spade outlet at Woodbury Common in 2003.
I remember being so excited that I finally owned something by Kate Spade -- not a knockoff I'd find down in Chinatown, but a real wallet all my very own. Her signature bags, shoes (AKA the CUTEST pair of black and red Mary Janes) and spunky jewelry followed, as well as a bag I bought my mom from the store on 5th Avenue in NYC, but the wallet held a special place in my heart -- and did, until I used it so much that it literally fell into tatters years later and regretfully had to be thrown away.
Owning this wallet by Kate Spade was my first real glimpse into the positive power that fashion, and the designers behind the items we cherish, can have over us. Even as I've grown older and haven't bought as many Kate Spade items (although the iPhone case I had on my 6S until I recently bought the 10 was an adorable Kate Spade makeup palette-adorned one I got on Black Friday two years ago -- photo of it is above), I've never forgotten how special or important she was and is to me as a designer.
To this day, my best friend and I always send each other the email notifications we get about Kate Spade sample sales. I still get a rush of excitement and nostalgia every time I see the little signature tag on a handbag. And, especially as a copywriter, I'm continually impressed by the true voice the Kate Spade brand possesses -- you just KNOW you're reading copy from and about Kate before you even see her name next to it. Brand recognition in all forms is something a brand strives for and something Kate has in, well, spades.
But, along with the in-depth look I've given toward Kate Spade as a fashion icon, her death stemming from depression strikes a chord with me personally, too. And, while I've never considered suicide, I've been at extremely low depths that felt insurmountable.
Three years ago, right before moving to LA, I was, to put it mildly, in a pit of despair. I'd lost my job, lived in a city I despised, fallen in with a bad guy and had almost no real friends close by. I was working toward my move to LA, which would thankfully come just a few short months later and start me on the path toward true health and happiness. But in the meantime, I was at my lowest point ever.
I honestly didn't know at the time just how depressed I was -- I knew I wasn't HAPPY, per se, but it took coming to LA and starting fairly aggressive therapy to learn how much I really needed to make some changes. I'm extremely grateful for so much that happened after I finally moved to LA, because I worked on pretty deep-rooted issues with my therapist for about two years. Until I really started delving into what was making me unhappy, I just didn't really see how much it had built up or how much I had to work to make things better. But it does make me very sympathetic to the fact that not everyone can find this happiness or peace. Some people just have deeper demons than we realize.
I am truly saddened by the death of Kate Spade and, even though I didn't know her personally, feel a personal connection to her through the world of fashion and my love for her brand. My heart is definitely a little heavier knowing she is no longer here -- and my thoughts are with her family during this indescribably difficult time.
Kate, the next handbag I buy will definitely be yours.