She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism. In 1986, she worked for Mademoiselle magazine. In 1991, she left the magazine to design her own line of handbags.
Her handbags have been criticized for their simple (yet popular) shape because they are easy targets for counterfeit. It is common to see fake Kate Spade bags being sold on the streets of New York City, where the company originates.
In 1994, she married Andy Spade. Together, they had their only child, Frances, in 2005.
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