Why Kate Spade Legally Changed Her Name in 2016

Kate wanted to distinguish herself from her first namesake label when she launched Frances Valentine

The late fashion designer Kate Spade, will forever be associated with the highly successful namesake label she and her husband created in 1993, Kate Spade New York. But in 2016, she decided to change her famous moniker to Kate Valentine Spade. Why? She explained her decision to PEOPLE in 2016.

Despite never finding it odd to share her name with a brand that she stepped away from in 2007 (she and her husband sold the company in 2006 to Liz Claiborne, Inc.), she wanted to differentiate herself from the Kate Spade New York label when she launched her second fashion brand, Frances Valentine, in 2016.

“I really did want to make sure that we distinguished that we didn’t in any way disturb our namesake, something that we worked very hard establishing and something that they’re working very hard at maintaining,” she told PEOPLE. “So we wanted to make sure that there was a distinction between the two brands.”

But she said she never had a problem sharing her famous name with the brand she left, calling it “bizarrely not odd.”

“I don’t mind being associated with the fact that we started it, that we were the founders,” she explained. “I see bags. I see stores. I hear people refer to it. It’s very funny … I was really good at distancing myself from me the person and the company. So I kind of was already prepared for that. So having left, it was the same feeling. It wasn’t odd.”

Build Series Presents Kate Spade and Andy Spade Discussing Their Latest Project Frances Valentine
Monica Schipper/WireImage

But when she launched Frances Valentine, she wanted to align herself with her new venture, so she legally changed her name to reflect the brand. “I might probably have to get out there with some posters and little boards and say: ‘I’m now Frances Valentine.'”

The brand’s name came from combining both of her family’s names; Frances, from her father’s side of the family and Valentine, her mother’s.

“I’ve always felt guilty that I’d never done Valentine in my daughter’s name originally when she was born,” she said. “So I had already added that to her name for my mothers side of the family cause Frances is from my dad’s, and so I did that and then we named the company Frances Valentine.”

Rachel Brosnahan Shares Video of Kate Spade in Happier Times As She Pays Tribute to Her Aunt

Kate was found dead in her N.Y.C. apartment on Tuesday from an apparent suicide. She leaves behind her husband of 24 years and business partner Andy Spade and their 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix Spade.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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