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Who is Kate Spade: Fashion designer found dead at 55

Kate Spade, the fashion designer who co-founded fashion design house Kate Spade New York, was found dead in New York in an apparent suicide, according to law enforcement. She was 55 years old.

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In 1993, Spade, then a former Mademoiselle magazine accessories editor, set out to make the perfect handbag. From there, her company only grew. The brand has more than 140 retail and outlet stores nationwide and more than 175 shops abroad.

Here are some things to know about Spade.

The first Kate Spade shop opened in 1996

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In 1996, the first Kate Spade New York shop opened in New York. The first bag, a black, boxy waterproof handbag called the Sam tote, was sold in 1993.

Spade founded the company with her husband, Andy Spade

Andy Spade, the brother of comedian David Spade, co-founded Kate Spade New York in 1993. By 1999, they sold a majority stake of the brand to Neiman Marcus Group, which was later sold to Fifth & Pacific, formerly Liz Claiborne, in 2006. In 2014, Fifth & Pacific changed its name to Kate Spade & Company.

The Spades sold the company in 2007

“When we sold the company in 2007, it was really to focus on our family. It really was. It was a grind. I had just had a baby,” Spade told CNBC in a 2016 interview, referring to her daughter, Frances Beatrix.

“Creatively, I felt like we had completed our task,” Andy Spade said.

She founded another fashion company, Frances Valentine

Along with her husband, Spade created Frances Valentine, a new accessories company that sells shoes and handbags directly online and through some retailers. The accessories from the company are considered more mature than Kate Spade New York accessories. The company is named after Spade’s two grandfathers.

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