I heard the news of Kate Spade’s passing, as I’m sure most of the fashion world has by now. As a result, I’ve been very reflective for most of today about how the brand (and the woman behind it) have really impacted and inspired me. I started seeing Kate Spade bags floating around on girls’ arms in high school. Going to an all-girls Catholic school and wearing a uniform, we had to find creative ways to express ourselves. As a teenager at the time, I remember seeing Kate Spade as a status symbol, like wearing Ugg boots or hair extensions, and instantly thought of it as something to achieve solely based on that. However, as I grew older, went off to college and started working, I realized that Kate Spade is so much more than just adorable handbags and wallets. I love how Kate Spade herself was truly invested in her brand, her own personal style reflecting the message she has conveyed for decades: fashion can be versatile and practical while maintaining a level of class and elegance. Her clean lines and bright colors, along with the perfect mix of fashion, function and affordability have all laid the groundwork for the essence of my style aesthetic. I’ve admired and absolutely adored the brand’s iconic style, all thanks to Kate Spade’s entrepreneurship and leadership. Though she sold her company in 2007, her aesthetic has always been #goals, and always will be. Thank you, Kate Spade, for helping to shape me into the fashionista I am today. Rest in power.