From bags to bedding to bling

PHOTO: From bags to bedding to bling

The legacy of Kate Spade New York started with the sale of simple nylon handbags for $155 (S$165).

In 1993, Kate Spade, then an editor of the US magazine Mademoiselle, launched the handbag brand with her husband, Andy Spade, in New York. As she could not find functional, stylish bags on the market, she decided to design them on her own. The modern-style bags with bold colors quickly caught on among young women.

In 2007, Deborah Lloyd, the company's current creative director and copresident, joined the company and took over management. A former designer for British brand Burberry and US brand Banana Republic, she is currently in product development, following in the classic style of Kate Spade.

The company, which originally focused mainly on bags, has since broadened its lineup. It started selling jewelry in 2008, clothes in 2009, bedclothes in 2011, watches in 2012 and perfume in 2013. The men's brand Jack Spade is now in development.

The Kate Spade Saturday brand was launched this spring. The company's brick-and-mortar stores and the online shop frequently release new products in the hope of conveying Saturday's casual spirit and making shopping a fun experience.

Kate Spade New York has about 250 stores in 20 countries, with Japan as the first overseas location. In 1996, the company signed an exclusive contract with Japanese clothing company Sanei International, a seller of the Kate Spade line. A standalone store was opened in Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo, in 2004.

In 2009, the company established the joint venture Kate Spade Japan with Sanei. However, the venture ended in 2012 and Kate Spade New York acquired 100 percent ownership of the company.

Kate Spade New York now has about 70 stores in Japan. A major event was held in Tokyo in August to commemorate the brand's 20th anniversary.