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 Wellesley Zip Pink Planner Agenda Gold Dots InsideKate Spade Dark Grey Leather Satchel ToteKate Spade Green Maise Cross Body Satchel Kate Spade Cobble Hill - Leslie Small Leather SatchelKate Spade Wellesley Blue CrossbodySouthport Avenue Small Jenny By Kate Spade In Buttermilk/blackAuthentic Kate Spade Leather Tote With Matching Wallet And Make Up BagKate Spade Get Out Of Town Purse BagKate Spade Saturday All Along Satchel (full Size, Leather) Retail $295Kate Spade Sawyer Street Maxi Tote Robbins Egg BlueKate Spade Shoulder Tote Leather RedKate Spade Cobble Hill Leather Little Minka Fuchsia Hot Pink Hand Bag PurseKate Spade Saturday All Along Satchel (full Size, Leather) Kate Spade White Quinn HandbagKate Spade Small Rachelle Wellesley Dome Satchel & Wallet Lot Bonus 575.00 ValueKate Spade Claremont Drive Marcella In CashewKate Spade Delaney Perry Ln. Bubbles Satchel & Wallet Combo W/ Bonus Kate Spade Black Pebble Leather PurseKate Spade Black Leather Shoulder BagAuth Kate Spade Green Leather Square Tote Bag HandbagKate Spade Cedar Street Maise Purple HandbagKate Spade Diaper BagKate Spade PurseKate Spade Call To Action Terry Tote Bag Tequila Is Not My FriendKate Spade Wellesley MartineKate Spade Large Pebble Leather Green Olive Tote Purse Satchel Handbag Kate Spade Striped Alessa BagSouthport Avenue Small Jenny By Kate Spade In BluebelleKate Spade Wellesley Quinn HandbagAuthentic Kate Spade Beige Tan Classic Basic Jacquard Baby Diaper Bag Tote EucKate Spade Large Black Patent Leather Shoulder BagCharm City Ostrich Provence Bag By Kate Spade Bone Kate Spade Lemon Street Gwen Camera Bag In Black/goldKate Spade, Sophie, Wkru2009, Kennedy Park, Black Purse/shoulder BagKate Spade Shanghai Cruz Chinese Take Out Clutch/cross Body Kate Spade Saturday-the Four Colorblock Yellow Blue Red Mini A Satchel Sold Out!Kate Spade Wellesley Modern Red Embossed Leather Small Maeda Shoulder BagKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Ceder Street Monday Crossbody Clutch Kate Spade Large Beau Bag In Cipira 100% AuthenticMint Kate Spade 2 Park Avenue Beau Large Bag Sonia Purple Violet Tote PurseKate Spade Wellesley Alessa Leather Pink Shoulder BagKate Spade Magnolia Park Laurel In Clocktower/black Wkru2850Kate Spade Small Harmony MintKate Spade Cedar Street Perforated Small Harmony Pxru4941 Tote Bag BlackKate Spade Stevie Black Baby Diaper Bag Tote Leather TrimKate Spade Wellesley Quinn Purse - Chartreuse (light Green) Tote Style Kate Spade Eat Cake For Breakfast ToteKate Spade Cobble Hill Mini Minka, Leather Hobo, Pink, Black And OrangeCharm City Ostrich Provence Bag By Kate Spade In Desert Rose Kate Spade SatchelKate Spade Cobble Hill Minka Purse (black Shoulder Bag)Kate Spade,leather,cobalt Blue,slouch,shoulder BagCove Street Provence Bag By Kate Spade In Cy BlueKate Spade Saturday Leather Mini A Satchel Purse Pink Black White Sold Out StyleKate Spade Palm Springs Sloan, Mfsrp $458, A Must See!Kate Spade Stevie Diaper Baby Bag Black / White Gold Leather TrimKate Spade Wellesley Elena Shoulder BagKate Spade Black Leather Crossbody PurseAuthentic!! Kate Spade Camellia Street