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.
Question: What defines great design?
Andrew Spade: I think you can define it different ways. I mean one way to define it is if it works. Like a great pair of jeans, it works and it functions. It has a functional part to it depending on what it’s designed for. And this is designed . . . I mean these were designed for that purpose, and I think that has succeeded. If it’s for, I guess, show . . . you know, to have people talk about it, then I think it’s successful if it generates that, you know? I mean for me, I mean I like equally the dime store flip flop that costs $2.00 as good as any one designed by a European designer. I think a flip flop should just be that. And I think that a jean should be that. I don’t think it needs ornamentation. I think its original purpose was to last a long time, and to get better with age, and to do that. It doesn’t need any more. Some people think it looks better when you add things to it and play with it, which is fine. But I think they should be left alone. But I also love when someone changes how clothing functions. For example, people in NASA would say, “I wanna make sure I can breathe in this shirt when I’m in 140 degree weather.” Those kinds of things really excite me. Or just like simple shirts that you can play tennis in. Or simple things that really work. I am . . . I’ve never been inspired by the flamboyance of fashion, although I think it’s really interesting. I appreciate it. I love seeing David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. I love all those moments, you know? The costumes that Mick Jagger wears are amazing. I mean if you go back and look at these costumers, they’re incredible. And I have to say I really appreciate them. And they . . . and they do look great on a lot of people. And I think that’s all fashion. I think all of it is fashion. And that’s what I see.
Recorded on: 7/12/07