Fashion designer and businesswoman, Kate Spade, 55, was found dead Tuesday morning in her New York City apartment. The cause of death has allegedly been ruled a suicide.
Law enforcement said she was found hanging with a scarf around her neck late in the morning her a housekeeper. A note was left at the scene which was intended for the family, according to a police source
For the most part, Spade’s suicide note was to tell her daughter not to blame herself for her death, according to the Associated Press.
Spade’s husband was at their home during the suicide. Their daughter was still in school.
The Spade family released a statement early Tuesday afternoon asking for privacy as they mourn:
“We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly,” they said. “We would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.”
The circumstance of her death has brought the conversation of suicide and mental health to the forefront. Many are shocked a woman with such fame and fortune would take her own life.
“When I found out her death on Twitter, I thought it was sad. I mean, all deaths are sad, but suicide is such a different kind of sad,” said Savannah Rice, junior sports science & fitness management student.
Many celebrities took to Twitter to discuss not only their love for the designer but also the tragic circumstance surrounding her death.
“Very saddened to hear about the passing of Kate Spade, Mental illness does not discriminate and can happen to anyone with any circumstances. I hope she has found peace.” Lucy Hale (@lucyhale) tweeted.
Many also used the news of her passing to promote mental health awareness and the National Suicide Hotline for those contemplating suicide.
“Kate Spade’s tragic passing is a painful reminder that we never truly know another’s pain or the burden they carry. If you are struggling with depression and contemplating suicide, please, please seek help.” Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) tweeted.
Spade was born in Kansas City in 1962. She attended Arizona State University where she met her husband and CEO of her company, Andy Spade.
Spade started at the magazine “Mademoiselle” out of college as an accessories reporter.
Her focus shifted in the early 1990s when she left the magazine and went into business with her husband. Together they founded Kate Spade New York in 1993.
The designer’s notoriety rose when her line of fashion-forward and reasonably priced handbags became a smash hit in the market.
“She’s my favorite designer because her collections are simple, yet elegant. She makes items for the everyday woman,” said Breanna Jackson, junior civil engineering student.
Neiman Marcus, a luxury department store chain, bought a majority of the company’s stake in 1999. In 2006, the Spades left the company after Liz Claiborne bought it for $124 million.
Spade later acknowledged that she left the company in order to spend more time with her family.
Since then, Claiborne has changed the Kate Spade name and in 2014 sold the company to Tapestry Inc. which owns Coach.
Last year, Spade made news when her company was sold to Coach for $2.4 billion. The company’s sales, however, have continued to decrease with a large drop in online shopping.
Though Spade has not been directly involved with the brand in over a decade, her death could potentially booster sales with the so-called “halo effect.”
This will be most effective for consumers who have been faithfully shopping with Spades brand for the past two decades as a type of memorial.
“I will always remember when my mom bought me my first Kate Spade purse and wallet set. It was a small crossbody that fit my style perfectly. Now, I have an entire collection of her handbags,” said Jackson.
Spade has made a small return to the fashion industry in the last few years.e helped launch the Frances Valentine accessories brand with her company.
Kate Spade New York has more than 140 outlets domestically and over 175 internationally. This includes three outlet stores in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It is hard to pin down just yet what Spade’s legacy will be. Her 1960s reminiscent style helped to ring in a new era of female contemporary designers. She built her brand on the embodiment of bright prints and aesthetically pleasing finishes.
“I think she will be remembered for being a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur. Her creativity and way of empowering women through fashion was always refreshing,” said Nia Reid, senior english student.