Kate Spade (nee Brosnahan) was senior fashion editor and head of accessories at Mademoiselle magazine when she left in 1991 to start her own handbag line, after deciding that there was a need for stylish and sensible bags.
She created her own line, using classic shapes, fabrics, and colors, and launched in in 1993. Her first boutique opened in 1996 in New York City, and opened more around the country over the next few years. Her first international boutique opened in Japan in 2004, and dozens more have since opened around the world.
Spade and her husband sold a controlling interest in the company in 1999, and sold the rest in 2006. Liz Claiborne bought the firm in 2007. Spade was named Accessory Designer of the Year in 1998 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.