Wallet Sized Hope: What Kate Spade Meant to Me


The first time I made money from blogging was nine years ago through a partnership I had with Lucky Magazine. This was a watershed moment for me: I hadn't imagined someone would pay me to write about something I loved on a site I did for laughs in my spare time, and I couldn't believe that a print publication that I fangirled over would be the one paying me. It felt significant, and I felt validated as a creative person. I felt grown up. This was post-college but pre-children, a time when paychecks, as an aspiring actor, were never guaranteed and were rarely significant.

I knew right away what I wanted to do with that first paycheck. I wanted to buy a Kate Spade wallet in "my" pink (the same color Adored Austin had been branded with). I've never really been a label chaser (in the words of the great Shania Twain, "That don't impress me much") and I had never bought myself something that nice and that new. Nonetheless, buying a Kate Spade wallet for myself was a moment in my timeline where I crossed over from "I think I can" to "I know I can". 

I have used this same wallet every day for nearly a decade now.

Last Sunday as I transferred this wallet from my swim bag to my purse, I had the thought that it was time to get a new one. This one has remnants of gum stuck to the pull tab, the gold accents have long since rubbed off, and a Kroger receipt has surreptitiously affixed itself to the spine. 

It's not an exaggeration to say that this wallet has been my constant, so letting it go makes me feel uneasy. 

The Kate Spade brand holds a dear spot in the lives of many women, and her death caused a collective gasp not just in fashion circles, but for women everywhere. What her brand represented to so many of us was hope and optimism and self-earned success. So to hear of her tragic passing, of this huge loss against depression and suicide, for me, was akin to hearing of Robin Williams' passing. When we lose someone who seemed to personify joy to something as dark as suicide, it's hard to parse. This is what feels uneasy. Kate Spade, so many of us will continue to carry you and your unabashed sense of sunshine, even if you couldn't carry on any longer. You were well loved and will continue to be. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Relevant links: 

Read: Kate Spade Was Every Woman's Entry to Adulthood by The Fug Girls

Listen: How I Built This with Guy Raz: Kate Spade