I’ve always associated Kate Spade with the Ladies Who Lunch set. In my mind, her clothes and accessories were an accessible alternative for the girl who loves pearls and monogrammed sweaters. And for most of my friends, getting your hands on one of her handbags meant you were really doing the damn thing (on a budget, of course).
Admittedly, I’ve never been a big Kate Spade fan. More boho than ballet, it just wasn’t my style. But something about this year’s New York Fashion Week showing felt different. And I’ll proudly admit to anyone who will listen that I loved everything about it.
As usual, color was on full display in this collection. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that tea party pink took a backseat to bold pieces in gold, blue, and Kate Spade green, a brilliant shade recently recognized by Pantone.
And as much as I loved the collection, I couldn’t help but notice just how amazing the colors looked on all of the beautiful Black and Brown models wearing them. Extra credit for all of the dope natural textured hairstyles.
Something about this collection just seemed fresher and edgier than anything I’ve seen in the past. I actually made a list of things I wanted to grab for myself – that lime green coat, for starters!
But although I wasn’t always a fan of the clothes, I have to respect the efforts the brand has made to promote diversity and inclusion.
While the fashion industry has had its fair share of problems with diversity, Kate Spade has made efforts to right some of the wrongs. In 2022, the brand and its parent company Tapestry Inc. announced a three-year partnership with Harlem’s Fashion Row’s (HFC) HBCU Fashion Summit.
In one of the first endeavors, Fine and Performing Arts students from Bowie State University had the chance to learn from Kate Spade designers and senior executives in a series of weekly webinars which covered almost every aspect of the fashion industry, including color, design, and marketing.
HFC founder, Brandice Daniel, who has been outspoken on the need to promote diversity in fashion, launched HBCU Fashion Summit to connect students with experts in the industry.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime, priceless opportunity,” said Bowie State Assistant Professor of Fashion Design Danielle Brown. “These types of things did not happen when I was studying fashion. For students to have this amount of exposure inside of a company is truly magical. Tapestry and Harlem Fashion Row are really putting forth a true effort to bridge the gap between our black and brown students and the fashion industry,” she said.
Let’s hope the rest of the industry starts moving in the right direction.