The world gasped at the sad news of fashion icon Kate Spade passing away yesterday. It reminds us that mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what your address is, or how successful you have been.
Kate Spade left her job as an accessories editor for fashion magazine Mademoiselle in 1993 and decided to start a handbag company. Her first line was just six styles and today the company is worth billions.
Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue magazine, said, “Kate Spade had an enviable gift for understanding exactly what women the world over wanted to carry. She launched her label at a time when everyone thought that the definition of a handbag was strictly European, all decades-old serious status and wealth. Then along came this thoroughly American young woman who changed everything. There was a moment when you couldn’t walk a block in New York without seeing one of her bags, which were just like her; colourful and unpretentious. Kate designed with great charm and humour, and built a global empire that reflected exactly who she was and how she lived. Long before we talked about ‘authenticity’, she defined it.”
But she hid her pain. As so many people do. May we remember what actress Audrey Hepburn once said, “Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being’s suffering. Nothing. Not a career, not wealth, not intelligence, certainly not status. We have to feel for one another if we’re going to survive with dignity.”
May we treat others with kindness and try to help when we can. And for those who are silently suffering, know that help is waiting. Never be afraid to share your story.