It's easy to take a cynical approach to consumerism. To the world of fashion and frivolous purchases. I do it all the time.
I get angry whenever someone values name brand stuff for the sake of it being name brand, and I also find it pretty disgusting when people seem to care more about appearing successful than actually doing something successful in their lives that's fulfilling and meaningful to them.
The kind of person who, in the seminal Post Malone track off of his masterpiece, Beerbongs and Bentleys, are like this woman: "her bag Chanel/but she drive a durango".
Spending money on Gucci belts when you're borrowing gas money, leasing a new Lexus while you're living with your parents and taking pictures of it on Instagram with "inspirational" comments means your priorities are in the wrong place and you're kinda pathetic. But that doesn't mean liking the finer things in life is wrong, because it's not.
For many people, earning those finer things through hard work, or treating yourself to something to celebrate an honest-to-goodness milestone means the world to you. It's why growing up I valued the videogames I got after busting my butt in school or saving up enough money from shoveling people's driveways way more than the rich kids who just got the game on a Tuesday from their parents for simply existing.
One of the best parts about buying those finer things, is when you gift them to someone else. I love surprising my wife with gifts and seeing her face light up when I show them to her. One of her favorite designers was Kate Spade, who, unfortunately, recently committed suicide.
The news left a lot of people shocked and expressing their condolences to the influential designer's family.
My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 5, 2018
I am heartbroken about the news of Kate Spade. I have worn her clothes many, many times. They were colorful, bold, cheerful, and encouraged women to find the twinkly person inside them. You couldn’t walk into her boutiques and not smile. Rest In Peace, Kate.— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) June 5, 2018
People are now using Spade's suicide to spark a larger conversation about mental health.
Many are doing it by sharing photos and stories about what her designs meant to them.
True story: One of my dreams was to own a #KateSpade handbag & I vowed that if I ever made the NY Times Best Seller List, I would buy one. When AVIATOR'S WIFE made the list, I did - here's the photo I sent to my editor when I bought it. pic.twitter.com/p2QPjKavt2— Melanie Benjamin (@MelanieBen) June 5, 2018
For some, it was a symbol of success, of attaining personal goals and dreams.
for pretty much all of high school, I fantasized about a future in which I carried the kate spade "all typed up clyde" satchel to my fancy NYC writer job. Saw a girl on the subway just last month holding one and we shared a giant smile https://t.co/resn0mxj2m pic.twitter.com/BmlogVstd9— Julia Carpenter (@juliaccarpenter) June 5, 2018
For others, it was all about the gift of giving.
The first gift I bought the love of my life was a Kate Spade bag and I remember inside there was a card with the quote 'She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes'. It encapsulated the girl I love perfectly. She had a way of encapsulating magnificence. Thoughts with her family— Francis Maxwell (@francismmaxwell) June 5, 2018
Some people showed off her more unconventional designs and how much it meant to them to buy a new bag.
I bought myself a Kate Spade bag for every book deal - and they have started so many conversations with strangers. She has brought colour, joy and friendship into my life, and I am heartbroken for her daughter. If you are feeling low or suicidal, call @Samaritans free on 116 123. pic.twitter.com/xWyefFOqOd— j a c k |🍴📸📚 (@BootstrapCook) June 5, 2018
Others shared some embarrassing stories about having a knock-off, and meeting Kate Spade herself.
In 2003, I carried a Kate Spade knockoff bag. Her bags represented class, sophistication, and the kind of woman I was pretending to be as a broke young reporter in NY. One day I got a spur-of-moment assignment to interview Spade—while I was carrying the knockoff. 1/3— Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) June 5, 2018
During the interview I hid the bag under the coat slung on my arm. Spade was, discreetly, trying to see what I was carrying. She was nice to me, and smart. Afterward I shared the mortifying story with a guy I’d just started dating. A few days later I got a Macy’s package. 2/3— Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) June 5, 2018
The guy had sent me a real red Kate Spade bucket bag. I carried the beautiful bag for years, and retired it just recently because I had destroyed it with everyday use. The guy and I have been married since 2005. 3/3— Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) June 5, 2018
For many, Spade's products represented the first "actual" purse they ever purchased, and the great feelings associated with getting something they really, really wanted.
my first "good" purse was a black nylon Kate Spade messenger bag. I begged my mom for it. I felt so special and fancy wearing it.— Celia (@_celia_bedelia_) June 5, 2018
Thank you for making me feel special, Kate.
When I first got a job with a livable wage, one of my first purchases was a Kate Spade. I was so proud that I could buy something for MYSELF that was a better quality and more of an investment than the bags I'd been carrying. This is so sad.— Jonquilyn Hill (@jonquilynhill) June 5, 2018
So gutted to hear the news about Kate Spade. KS has brought me so much joy over the years. That might sound silly, but I’ve always bought KS bags & etc for myself and loved ones as big life mile markers when I was able. This is awful.— Julie Murphy (@andimJULIE) June 5, 2018
For many people, it helped them cope in difficult environments.
i stole a kate spade purse from a department store when i was 15 and wore it every day for years. i was a poor kid at a rich school. that bag was like armor and camouflage and a hall pass that diminished the pain of being on the wrong side of my high school's economic divide.— Jessica Blankenship (@blanketboat) June 5, 2018
Others testified to the quality of Spade's products. For a bag to last from the '90s, that's pretty darn impressive.
I carried a Kate Spade black nylon diaper bag when my kids were babies in the 90’s— Mayday Mindy 🌊 (@maydaymindy9) June 5, 2018
We are moving, on Sunday we were packing and my husband said “do you want to save this” I said OMG it held up great, I’m giving it to the first one of our kids that gets pregnant ❤️👜👠
Her suicide is a reminder that depression can affect us all. But you can get help.
My condolences to Kate Spade's family in this trying time.