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    

Authentic Pre Owned Kate Spade Patent Wellesley Alessa Purse Striped Classy UsedKate Spade Cobble Hill Foldover Crossbody Beige LeatherKate Spade Wellesley Hanna Leather Handbag Shoulder Bag CrossbodyKate Spade Cobalt Blue Leather Wellesley Tanner Laptop BriefcaseKate Spade Boerum Place Thayer-black Leather BackpackKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Southport Jenny Blue Pebbled Leather Satchel CrossbodyKate Spade Cameron Street - Candace Leather SatchelKate Spade Crossbody HandbagKate Spade Purple Leather Cross Body Purse Shoulder Bag 15x10x6 Large B-20224Kate Spade Bright Red Shoulder Bag PurseKate Spade Cameron Street Maise Satchel Kate Spade Cedar Street Maise, DamagedKate Spade Nylon Crossbody Bag Black Striped Guc!Kate Spade Solid Pink 2 Small Straps Tote Medium Size Handbag PurseKate Spade Eat Cake For Breakfast Call To Action Canvas Tote BagKate Spade Starla Pink Leather Fold Purse Shoulder Bag 11x7.5x4.5 Large 21877White Kate Spade Cross-body Orchard Street Penelope BagKate Spade Scout Bag Sweetheart Gold Glitter Sparkle Shoulder Bag Girl,dust BagKate Spade Margareta Haven Lane Top Zip Tote Large Pink Dots Bag Kate Spade Grey Street Daveigh Leather Shoulder & Cross Body Wkru3798Kate Spade Saffiano Leather Purple Plum Laptop Bag Purse Bookbag MessengerKate Spade Laptop BagKate Spade Wellesley HandbagKate Spade Purse And WalletKate Spade Springbloom Crossbody BagKate Spade Cobble Hill Travel Leslie BagKate Spade Cobble Hill Leslie In GrayKate Spade Sawyer Street Tori ColorblockKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Cobble Hill Charley Pebbled Leather Grey & Black Backpack Msrp $348Kate Spade Purse Cream And BlackKate Spade Stevie Diaper BagKate Spade ToteKate Spade Pink Metallic Jet Set Carry All Tote, Glamorous And FashionableKate Spade Large Leather And Fabric Woven HandbagKate Spade Brown Handbag Leather Preowned Kate Spade Piano ClutchRare Black Kate Spade Chateau Hills Sloan Handbag Msrp $900Kate Spade Cobble Hill ToddyKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Hanna Brightwater Drive Red Cross Body Bag 6.5"Kate Spade Purple Leather Purse Handbag W/dustbag Nr!Kate Spade Saturday Handbag~purse~the Mini~a Satchel~camel Leather~euc~l@@k!!!Kate Spade Black/pink Leather Tote With WalletKate Spade Cream/blk Striped *flicker Scout* Buckle Cross-body Bag~sold OutRose Gold Sparkly Kate Spade ToteAuthetic Kate Spade Black And White Striped BagKate Spade Stevie Polka Dot Nylon Leather Trims Large Satchel/ Diaper BagKate Spade EverpurseStunning Kate Spade Pink Polka Dot Glitter Wallet LargeKate Spade Orange White Beige Coated Canvas Tote Shoulder Bag HandbagKate Spade Handbag Arbour Hill Lilah Kate Spade "berkshire Road Stevie" Black Pebbled Leather Satchel- Excellent CondKate Spade Flamingo Bird Large Shopper Tote Shoulder Bag Purse MulticolorKate Spade Pink Handbag Purse Polka Dots Leopard SpotsKate Spade Bay Street Cora Black Leather Crossbody Bag Kate Spade Hot Pink With Pink Bow Gently Used Crossbody With Dust BagAuthentic Kate Spade Perforated Black Leather Tassel Tote Shopper Handbag Purse*no Reserve* Excellent Condition Large Kate Spade Leslie Handbag