The shocking death of a designer who has shaped thousands of young women’s lives since the 90’s is bringing back old memories of how Kate Spade has contributed to the fashion world throughout the past few decades.
The iconic structured black “Sam” bag coveted by every girl in the 90’s was perhaps Spade’s first true mark on the industry as an icon. It was the bag gifted as middle school graduation and birthday presents, the best Christmas surprise any young woman could dream of. It was classy, sleek, effortless, and elevated nearly any outfit to a status of sophistication and femininity. One could say it was the ultimate coming-of-age bag for girls.
“Our story begins in 1993 with a boxy, black nylon handbag called sam. we wanted something utilitarian and timeless–a bag that could go with everything from jeans to a cocktail dress. sam did, and women and fashion editors alike swooned. this year for our 25th anniversary, we brought back sam in a bevy of colors and sizes you’ll want to lovingly hold and gaze at for years to come.”
Certainly, Spade’s iconic bag has not lost its impact over the years. Just this February, fashion lovers rejoiced at the return of the Sam to Kate Spade stores
, updated with not only its original black nylon exterior, but with additional bright colors and embroidery to embrace the brand’s modern and playful look.
1993 was the year Sam first hit the shelves, drawing every eye from the moment it first debuted in the stores. The way I, as a thirteen-year-old girl, coveted Juicy Couture charm bracelets and Ted Baker wallets in 2012, young women were saving up their allowance money and begging parents to buy them one of these beauties. Their first Kate Spade bag or wallet is a memory many women in their 30’s and 40’s now cherish as that moment they first stepped into womanhood.
I wasn’t old enough to remember when the young Kate Spade first became a hit on the market, but that only goes to show how relevant the designer has still remained to this day. I remember one summer (last year, in fact!) when I was dying to get my hands on a classic Kate Spade Lacey wallet in the color Toasted Wheat. I’d seen Kate Spade wallets on all the classiest, chicest-dressed girls and women around me, and I wanted to be like them. I wanted the Kate Spade look. Her designs had created a female signature no other brand could follow. Owning a Kate Spade Stacy or Cameron Street Maise in pastel pink or blue was the equivalent to entering the sophisticated adult society of cocktails, designer purses, and paychecks that would pay my own bills and rent. Without all the scary parts of actually becoming an adult, I could dream of enjoying, just for a moment, its luxuries if only by holding a Kate Spade around my wrist.
Lacey in Toasted Wheat
Cameron Street Maise in Misty Mist
Another Kate Spade nostalgia that made me fall in love with the designer? Her quirky and playful stationery and accessories. No one ever seems to talk enough them. But all I ever wanted was to splurge a little money on her striped or polka-dot notebooks, gem-topped pens, drink tumblers and iPhone cases. Forking over a big dollar sign for one of those paperclip and pushpin sets felt like the upgrade my desk needed to enter another level of organization and sophistication. Just reading some of those motivational quotes on Spade’s iconic stationery made me want to smile.
Image via Surangi Style
Image via Pret-Tea
Image via Southern Curls & Pearls
I think the reason Kate Spade can resonate with so many girls and women today is because of her efforts to be relatable and affordable for a working woman. Whether you were a wealthy shopper with all the money to spare for a couple-hundred-dollar purse or you had to work day and night for it, there was still a sense of reward in both quality and design when you finally got your hands on a Kate Spade. Her iconic pieces taught many of us what it meant to save up our money and buy what we want through diligence and effort. They gave us a sense of pride and luxury without the unfeasible price tags of other designer icons like Chanel or Gucci. Kate, your contribution to the fashion world for women everywhere cannot be understated. Thank you making luxury accessible to the masses. Thank you for infusing life and pleasure into style and elegance. Thank you for helping so many young girls grow into women of society.