Kate Spade is a luxury fashion brand named after its founder and co-owner-Katherine Noel Valentine Brosnahan Spade.
The woman had a successful career in a fashion magazine, but she craved something more.
So in 1991, Kate resigned from her job and worked on launching a brand with her husband. After two years of hard work, Kate launched the first collection of her modern, sleek, and unique handbags.
The brand had prices between $150 to $450 and quickly became popular amongst the upper-middle class.
Initially, Kate Spade sold only handbags but later released clothes, fragrances, jewelry, and other accessories.
The brand continued to grow and became the property of Tapestry in 2017 for 2.4 billion dollars.
To this day, Kate Spade is famous for its handbags and clothing line, but its shoppers have a question in mind, Is Kate Spade fast fashion?
Amongst the most famous fast fashion brands are Zara and H&M. These brands release up to fifty clothing ranges to stay up to date with the trends.
Kate Spade, on the other hand, launches three to four collections every year, which is standard for most luxury brands.
While fast fashion brands are cheap, with the price of dresses starting from twenty-five dollars, Kate Spade is a lot more expensive.
The brand incorporates recycled polyester, nylon, and organic cotton to produce clothes.
Unlike fast fashion brands, Kate Spade’s clothes are of high quality and do not wear out after a few washes.
To avoid wastage Kate Spade donates its surplus clothing to organizations that recycle them.
In 2021, its parent company donated over three thousand pounds of textiles to FabScrap.
The brand is also using recycled materials for packing purposes.
At the moment, Kate Spade is using eighty percent recycled materials for its Outlet Shopping Bags, it is also launching hundred percent recycled content dust bags made from recycled plastic bottles.
Kate Spade has a wide range of leather collections comprising bags, clutches, and shoes. The leather tanning industry uses chromium which is carcinogenic to humans and animals.
To reduce its environmental impact, Kate Spade aims to source ninety percent of its leather from Gold- or Silver-rated LWG tanneries by 2025.
The brand has manufacturing plants in China and Africa.
These countries are famous for the ill-treatment of laborers, but Kate Spade ensures that its code of conduct protects the rights of these employees.
All this proves that Kate Spade is not fast fashion, but the brand still needs to improve its environmental policies.
Is Kate Spade Ethical?
An ethical brand produces its products in such a way that it does not bring harm to the environment, animals, or human beings. Ethical brands care about the world and try to bring positive change to society.
We expect luxurious brands like Kate Spade to be more ethically responsible as they make more money than cheaper ones.
To figure out how morally responsible Kate Spade is, we studied three major areas. The brand’s policies regarding its employees, animal welfare, and environmental well-being.
When we looked into the brand’s employment policies, we discovered that Kate Spade has factories in China and Africa.
These countries are prominent for child labor, unjust treatment of laborers, poor working conditions, and below the minimum wages.
This, in itself, is a major red flag, but Kate Spade says that it treats all its employees fairly.
The brand has a code of conduct for its factory in China that strictly prohibits child labor, forced labor, extensive working hours, and gender discrimination. Kate Spade gives its laborers fair wages and health benefits as well.
Apart from its factories in China, the brand also has a plant in, Masoro, Rwanda, Africa. This area is remote with poor infrastructure, uncertain electric connections, and unreliable water resources.
It is hard for the brand to run the factory in this area, but the aim is to provide employment opportunities to women.
Next is Kate Spade’s policies regarding animal welfare.
In June 2018, PETA- a non-profit animal welfare organization, praised Kate Spade for banning the use of fur, decades ago. PETA also mentioned the brand’s ban on angora wool after learning about the cruel practices of the angora rabbit wool industry.
In 2020, however, Kate Spade came under fire when PETA revealed that the brand uses alpaca fleece and mohair in their products.
Since the alpaca fleece and mohair industry puts the animal through a lot of torture to obtain the items, PETA urged Kate Spade to forbid their use immediately.
Kate Spade has been silent regarding the matter and continues the production of sweaters and scarves using alpaca fleece.
The use of mohair and alpaca fleece is not only cruel towards animals but also our environment. The Higg Materials Sustainability Index calls alpaca fleece the second most environmentally fatal textile.
Breeding these animals puts an enormous burden on natural resources such as water and food needed to feed them. For half a pound of mohair, twenty to twenty-five pounds of fodder is needed for goats.
These animals are also responsible for the high volume emission of carbon and methane that contaminate water, soil, and air.
Kate Spade’s manufacturing practices are no good either. The brand is not doing anything to reduce its carbon footprint, nor does it have any solid policy that prohibits deforestation in its supply chain.
From all this, we conclude that although Kate Spade is taking steps to empower women, it still needs improvement in other sectors. As of now, Kate Spade is not an ethical brand.
Where does Kate Spade get its clothes from?
All the Kate Spade clothes say that they are imported, but the country of origin is not mentioned. As per our research, some of Kate Spade’s clothes are manufactured in the United States, and the rest comes from China.