A journalism-school graduate born in Kansas City, Missouri, Katherine Brosnahan started her career in the accessories department at New York City-based “Mademoiselle” magazine in 1986. As she worked her way up to Fashion Editor/Head of Accessories, she noticed a gap in the handbag market. She wasn’t seeing enough practical, classically styled purses in surprising or fun colors and materials.

Brosnahan left journalism, and with her fiancé, Andy Spade, a superstar in the marketing world, she launched her own handbag brand, Kate Spade, in 1993, with a nylon tote bag. Andy and Kate married a year later, and the couple ran the company together for 17 years before they sold it.

Describing her line as “L.L. Bean meets Prada,” Kate Spade found great success with her minimalist, preppy bags in basic fabrics like nylon, silk, or tweed in neutrals and vibrant colors like grass green and bright orange. In 1996, Kate Spade was honored with the Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent in accessories, which made her a household name.

Unlike haute-couture designer It Bags, which sell for thousands, Kate Spade purses sell for hundreds. Instead of overwhelming the wearer with the “statement” or personality of the bag, a Kate Spade is meant to go with the carrier’s personality, whether she’s a “renegade debutante, carpooling mother, or corporate executive."

Spade found much of her inspiration from vintage handbags. To keep her prices down, Spade focused on functionality and alternative materials to leather, including melton wool, Liberty prints, Harris tweed, oilskin, linen, and nylon. As her products spread to stores across the nation, she expanded her line to include snap-top satin evening bags with chain handles, linen and nylon shoulder bags, faux-suede shoppers, backpacks, and canvas tote bags.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Bag Lady University

Bag Lady University

Bag Lady University is the place to learn about handbag makers from Adrian's, which made Bakelite bags, to Whiting … [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Kate Spade Purse And WalletKate Spade Lainey Grove Court Shoulder Bag W/ Matching Wallet ... Black ... EucKate Spade Leather HandbagKate Spade Black SatchelKate Spade Grey Street Cooper Purse Light Blue - Graceblue ColorKate Spade Alessa Emerald Green PurseKate Spade Large Nylon Carson Messenger Cross Body Bag - BlackKate Spade Cobble Hill Small Devin BlackKate Spade Harmony Kate Spade Wellesley Tote Pillbox Red & Matching Wallet Retail $496 Kate Spade Tote HandbagKate Spade Pxru4471 Cedar Street Maise Grace Blue Leather Satchel PurseKate Spade Bow Bridge Helena Navy White LargeKate Spade Satchel Style PurseKate Spade Crossbody, Black Pebbled LeatherKate Spade Sold Out! Rare Small Marguerite Lilac Road $328 Lavender PurpleKate Spade 'mini Maria/southport Avenue Black Leather Cross-body/handbagBlack Kate Spade Handbag W/ Shoulder Bag Kate Spade Nylon Bon Shopper "flamingo" Tote Bag Msrp $ 159.00Kate Spade Black Large Tote& Shoppers HandbagKate Spade Flamingo Strut Your Stuff Applique Maise Satchel Handbag $398Kate Spade Black Leather ToteKate Spade Kate Spade Wellesley HandbagAuthentic Kate Spade Lemon Street Len Tote Pantry Lemons Plus Tablet PurseKate Spade Keran Miro Streer Calf Hair Medium SatchelKate Spade Spring Forward Wicker Green Snail Crossbody Bag Clutch 100% AuthenticKate Spade Pxru4471 Cedar Street Maise Grace Blue Leather Satchel Purse13"/11" Kate Spade Shoulder Bag, 100%leather, Gray/pink, Beautiful HardwarKate Spade Stevie Diaper BagKate Spade Black Shoulder BagKate Spade Gold Coast Maryanne Quilted Leather Black Handbag + Matching Wallet!!Kate Spade Ostrich Purse With Dust BagGreat Summer ,authentic Kate Spade Bag,wallet,and DustcoverKate Spade Leather HandbagKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Baby Bag - Polka DotKate Spade 'grant Park Starla' African Violet Purple Leather Crossbody Bag R$248Sophia Bush Kate Spade Grey Leather Vintage Print Small ClutchKate Spade Bag - Lark Street Dot MaddieKate Spade PurseKate Spade Black PurseKate Spade Leather HandbagKate Spade Woven Leather Bag Handbag PurseKate Spade Oak Island Magazine Tote - Natural/multi Stripe Kate Spade "jules" Take A Walk On The Wild Side Flamingo Tote Bag Msrp $ 379.00Kate Spade Hanna Wellesley Printed Tropcstrpe Cross Body Bag ~ Msrp $ 179.00Euc W Dustbag Kate Spade Black Quilted Leather Three-compartment Shoulder BagKate Spade Tan W/ Black Leather Doctor Bag PurseKate Spade Cedar Street CrossbodyKate Spade Grant Street Diaper BagKate Spade Red Leather Handbag, Excellent ConditionKate Spade ToteKate Spade Shoulder Bag - Lavender Kate Spade Redlarge Saffiano Leather Tote Shoulder Bag Kate Spade Emanuelle Make A Splash Beware Of Sharks Clutch PurseSawyer Street Kate Spade Pink HandbagKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Small Adrien Cobble Hill Handbag Top Brand Name Designer 100 AuthentiQuilted Black Kate Spade Leather Handbag