Andrew Spade is a fashion designer who co-founded Kate Spade and Jack Spade. Born in Birmingham, Michigan, he attended Arizona State University, where he met fellow future-fashion designer Katherine Brosnahan. Together, they launched the handbag design company Kate Spade in 1993. The couple married the next year. They created the design company Jack Spade in 1996 to fill the perceived market void for stylish and practical men's accessories, and the company officially launched in 1999. In February of 2009, Andy openend a new store on Great Jones Street, in Manhattan, called Partners & Spade. He resides in New York City.
Topic: Creative Process
Andrew Spade: I have a creative process, but it’s, I think, unique to myself. I will find . . . I started in advertising, so I would really sit down with art directors usually. And we would think about different ways to solve a problem. Advertising is problem solving in a creative way. And we would throw everything out. I mean we were never embarrassed to throw out an idea. It could come from anywhere. I mean it could come from another . . . you know, I never stole from advertisers. But you’d look at art and you’d walk around, and sometimes there are relationships between things. If you’re doing something, for example, for a car, you’d kind of think visually about that. And then you’d try to completely do the opposite. So how do you do something where you don’t shoot on the road? How do you sell this product without showing a car? Well my process is usually how to do something really new, but to solve the problem and communicate it. And I think that’s by just going in different directions starting with something completely obscure. And say in the office, while there’s a straw, what can we do with the straw and solve this problem that the car gets better gas mileage? And it starts that way, and then someone will say something else, and someone will say something else, and then we’ll come up with a visual idea that may say, “That would be really interesting. I’ve never seen that in a car commercial. How can we make that relate to the problem we’re trying to solve?” So a lot of it comes from that and connects back to things we do. But I don’t know where it comes from. But the smartest people and the most creative people I know, you know, they have it built in. They’re just . . . their nature is just to come up with it and their brains work that way. I think that mine works that way connecting things from different angles all the time. I don’t know why it does, but it comes very naturally to me to do these things. It doesn’t come naturally to me to do a lot of obvious things that most people can do naturally. But one thing that is natural for me is to kind of creatively solve problems and work on ideas.
Recorded on: 7/12/07