Kate Spade Southern Living

Kate Spade, a force in the fashion industry for more than two decades, was found dead today. (Photo: Southern Living)

Kate Spade, who launched a fashion brand with husband Andy Spade in 1993 and rose to the top of the fashion industry, was found dead in her New York City apartment today (June 5). The 55-year-old designer was an apparent suicide, according to reports.

A housekeeper found Spade in her home on Park Ave. near E. 77th St. at about 10:20 a.m. Spade had hung herself, police sources told The New York Daily News.

She was pronounced dead on the scene. She left a note, sources told the local CBS outlet.

Her fashion empire included Kate Spade New York, which has more than 140 retail shops around the United States and more than 175 outlets around the world.

The company was sold in 2007 for more than $2.4 billion, and is now part of Tapestry, Inc., which is owned by Coach, another major fashion retailer.

Spade was born in 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri. She grew up in Kansas City and went to an all-girls Catholic high school. She attended Arizona State University and graduated in 1985.

At school, she met future husband, Andy Spade, the brother of comedian David Spade. Kate majored in journalism, while Andy majored in architecture. Both were working at a clothing store at the time.

She broke into fashion in the 1980s with Mademoiselle magazine in New York City. She left the magazine in 1991.

Kate and Andy launched Kate Spade Handbags in 1993. A year later they married. They later expanded into clothing and jewelry lines.

Daughter Frances Beatrix Spade was born in February 2005.

After selling her company in 2007, Spade said she wanted to take time off to raise her daughter. In 2016 she got back into the game with a new fashion brand called Frances Valentine after her daughter.

From all outward appearances her career was a success. Last year she was named to the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She was named one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company magazine.

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