Sales of Original Kate Spade Bags Skyrocket on Resale Sites Following Designer's Death
Resellers are seeing a "significant spike" in Kate Spade bag sales in the days following the designer's passing
After the tragic news that Kate Spade died from suicide at age 55, fans of the legendary fashion designer immediately began sharing memories of Spade’s iconic brand.
Lena Dunham, who was the most recent celebrity to wear Spade’s label Frances Valentine, Tweeted that the designer “had a quirky visual language that captivated Bat Mitzvah girls and artists alike,” while Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush Hager both recalled receiving their first Kate Spade bags in college.
Fans evidently experienced some fashion nostalgia following the news, and they headed to fashion resale sites in droves to try and get a piece of the brand from when Spade was at the helm, before leaving along with husband Andy in 2007 to focus on raising her daughter, Frances Beatrix. (The pair sold their stake in the company to Liz Claiborne, Inc. in 2006, and the brand was sold again in 2017 to Coach. The newly formed company, which also includes Stuart Weitzman, is now called Tapestry, Inc.)
Fashion resale site thredUP tells PEOPLE searches for “Kate Spade” increased on the site by 274 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, compared to an average Tuesday-Wednesday period on the site for the previous three months.
Sales of Kate Spade items were up 146 percent on thredUP in the same period, with Tuesday’s lift being particularly dramatic at over 200 percent above average, with sales for “Kate Spade logo handbags” particularly in-demand, with a 235 percent increase. In the ’90s, Spade was famously one of the first designers to put her label on the outside of her bags rather than on the inside, which became a trademark and runaway success.
“Kate just took this simple concept and even as simple of instead of putting the label on the inside, putting it on the outside,” longtime friend Bobbi Brown told PEOPLE. “Kate kind of led the way for that.”
And on community-based resale app and website Poshmark, where sellers list and sell their own items, there was “a significant spike” in Kate Spade purchases following the designer’s death as well, reps confirm to PEOPLE. Users purchased 600 percent more Kate Spade product on Tuesday alone, compared to the average daily purchases of Kate Spade inventory over the previous 30 days, and 367 percent more on Wednesday. The majority of the sales were handbag purchases.
True Kate Spade lovers know that the designer was most known for her nylon and fabric styles in the ’90s an early aughts — and they were quick to seek out the styles. ThredUp found a 464-percent increase in sales for “non-leather Kate Spade bags,” including the iconic “Sam” bag (which Kate Spade New York brought back earlier this year).
Meanwhile, Frances Valentine, the accessories label started by Kate and Andy Spade in 2016, has almost sold out entirely of their online inventory, with only a few sizes in select styles still available. (ThredUP was not able to provide additional statistics for the brand as it had a much smaller presence on the site, and no products are currently available.) On Poshmark, several Frances Valentine items are still available.
In a statement on its website and on Instagram on Wednesday, Frances Valentine paid tribute to its late founder, saying: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and founder, Kate Valentine Spade, who will remain in our hearts forever.”
Spade returned from a decade-long fashion hiatus to launch the brand, which she and her husband named in honor of their daughter, Frances.
The designer’s eponymous label is also paying tribute to its late founder, not just on social media but in stores as well.
All Kate Spade New York stores will remove all signage and product from their windows and replace it with a poster of the company’s statement following her death, which was posted on Instagram.
The statement reads: “Kate Spade, the visionary founder of our brand, has passed. Our thoughts are with her family at this incredibly heartbreaking time. We honor all the beauty she brought into this world.”
Fans have also reportedly been leaving flowers and messages at Kate Spade New York stores, with a note at the Madison Avenue boutique in N.Y.C. reading, “I’m so sad + so sorry. Thank you for bringing so much color and beauty to our lives.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).