Kate Spade is one of the most recognizable and popular designer bag brands around today. Consumers from all walks of life are in love with the unique look and durability of the bags the label produces, in addition to the jewelry, shoes, and fragrances that have been released in recent years. However, Kate Spade items often sell out and can be quite pricey – something that may turn many away from the brand.
Fortunately, if you love Kate Spade but want to see what else is out there, this article can help you out. Below, we discuss the basic history of Kate Spade and then give you a rundown on the best brands that are similar to Kate Spade. This will help you know where to purchase alternatives that may be cheaper, but still resemble the Kate Spade style that you love.
The History of Kate Spade
Founded in 1993 by designer Kate Brosnahan Spade, Kate Spade was a result of Kate’s experience working for Mademoiselle magazine. After leaving her job as an editor with the magazine, she set out to design a new line of stylish, affordable, and durable handbags.
The brand soon took off, and the first official Kate Spade store opened in 1996 in New York, with one of the most desired products being a small square bag with the brand’s label sewn to the outside. Over the years, the profits of the brand grew into the millions, and Kate Spade was eventually sold to Liz Claiborne, Inc – now known as Kate Spade & Company – in 2007. Later on, operations expanded to include items such as jewelry, shoes, gifts, and fragrances.
Sadly, the original founder of the brand, Kate Spade, passed away in 2018. However, her legacy continues through her company, which to this day, is just as popular and continues producing new and unique handbag designs, many of which Kate Spade herself left behind for the brand.
Top Brands Similar to Kate Spade
The brands below bear the most similarity to Kate Spade. Some are in the more affordable range, while others are on the more luxurious side. One thing is for certain, is that all of the brands will offer handbags of similar quality and design so that you can find your new favorite product.
1. Frances Valentine
Co-founded by Elyce Arons, a close friend of Kate Spade, and Kate Spade herself after she sold her eponymous label in 2007, Frances Valentine is inspired by the same timeless designs that governed Kate Spade. Handbags are a major item in the brand’s lineup, and they bear a similarly accessible yet unique style much like Kate Spade.
The price point of Frances Valentine is also quite similar to that of the Kate Spade line, making it a pretty good alternative for those who love Kate Spade but want to try out something else.
While Coach is generally considered more of a luxury brand than Kate Spade, it does offer a similar arrangement of handbags. There are multiple different designs and styles available, which lovers of Kate Spade will appreciate, and the brand aims to make its designs appealing and durable.
Price-wise, many of the Coach bags are in the same price range as Kate Spade, with some of them being a little more luxury priced. Coach does carry a line of shoes, accessories, and fragrances, so if you are a fan of other Kate Spade items, you are likely to enjoy Coach’s additional offerings too.
3. Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren is a well-known name in the world of fashion and understandably so. The brand offers all manner of items from handbags and clothes for men and women, to home décor, shoes, and accessories. Fans of Kate Spade will love the lineup of understated yet eye-catching handbag designs, and the many varieties of bags available.
However, Ralph Lauren can be much more luxuriously priced than Kate Spade, with some handbags coming in at several thousand dollars each. The label also tends to have more options available outside of their handbags, which can be a plus for some or a drawback for those who prefer their handbag designers to offer a limited number of products.
4. Rebecca Minkoff
Founded by designer Rebecca Minkoff in 2005, this label has a similar backstory to that of Kate Spade. The brand was founded as a way to bring new innovative handbag designs to the market, eventually expanding into a full line of handbags and offering other products, such as shoes, fragrances, and jewelry. The designs have bohemian influences and are inspired by a free-spirited lifestyle.
Most of the handbags offered by Rebecca Minkoff are at a similar price point to Kate Spade. The range is accessible to most shoppers looking for a designer handbag without being too much on the luxury end for the average consumer.
5. Michael Kors
Another fantastic alternative to Kate Spade, Michael Kors offers many handbag styles. Most notably, the brand carries similar small, square-styled bags that are very much like the ones that originally shot Kate Spade to fame. In addition to these smaller handbags, the label carries a collection of cross-body, shoulder, and tote-style handbags, perfect for anyone who loves the many options from the Kate Spade line.
Much like Coach, many of the handbags offered by Michael Kors are in the same price range as Kate Spade, though there are a few outliers that are more luxuriously priced. Coach also has a line of fragrances, shoes, and accessories for those consumers who want to experience all the brand has to offer.
6. Tory Burch
The Tory Burch label was founded in 2004. It strives to reimagine American luxury, adding in a global point of view. The brand offers a wide range of handbags, from totes to small shoulder bags, and prides itself on its unique, colorful designs. The style of bags offered is similar to Kate Spade, but lovers of the original may find that Tory Burch is a little more colorful and floral than Kate Spade.
As for price, Tory Burch does offer items that start at the same price as Kate Spade products, but many of their items are also priced a little more luxuriously. However, it is a great choice if you love Kate Spade’s uniqueness and would love to see it combined with another brand’s vision.
7. Marc Jacobs
Often thought of as an entry brand into the world of designer handbags, Marc Jacobs is just as ubiquitous as Kate Spade. The brand boasts several fresh designs each year and a recognizable trademark on their handbags, much like the signature label on Kate Spade branded bags. Handbag designs from Marc Jacobs are typically kept understated and elegant, making them a great choice for those who love how universally fitting the Kate Spade design is.
Most of the products offered by Marc Jacobs are at a similar price point to Kate Spade. There are several more luxurious items offered at higher prices, but on the whole, most consumers will be able to afford and appreciate this brand.
How to Find Affordable Luxury Items
Affordable luxury items are a huge part of today’s designer market, with many consignment stores, such as TheRealReal, popping up to offer discounts on your favorite brands (including Kate Spade). For many, the problem with designer handbags is the cost of purchasing such a bag, and some consumers may turn to alternative brands or to purchasing these products second-hand. One of the good things about designer handbags is that they generally hold up to several years of use.
If you are in the market to find a super affordable luxury item from any of the brands we listed, you should search outlet stores, thrift stores, estate and yard sales, and online auctions. However, if you choose to purchase your designer handbag from an online website that is not the official retailer, you should be extremely careful to purchase an authentic item, as counterfeiting is a major problem in the handbag industry.
Shop a Similar Brand to Find New Favorites
Kate Spade is a popular designer brand that is well-known for its quality handbags and other uniquely designed accessories. For many consumers, even those who are loyal to Kate Spade, shopping with similar designers to the brand can be a great way to find new favorites that put a unique spin on the handbag styles that you already know you love.