Kate Spade was totally detached from her namesake brand

  • Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead Tuesday in an apparent suicide. She was 55.
  • She, along with her husband, Andy Spade, created her namesake brand, Kate Spade, but they hadn't been involved with it for years.
  • The Spades sold the brand to Neiman Marcus in 2006, which had already owned 56% of it. Neiman Marcus then sold it to Liz Claiborne shortly after.
  • The Kate Spade brand is now owned by Coach parent company Tapestry, which purchased it along with the rest of Liz Claiborne for $2.4 billion in 2017.

Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her apartment in New York in an apparent suicide on Tuesday, according to reports. She was 55.

She, along with her husband, Andy Spade, started her namesake brand in 1993. But they haven't been involved with it for years.

18 PHOTOS
Kate Spade through the years
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Kate Spade through the years
Kate Spade during The 2001 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards - Arrivals at The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Kate Spade during The Fresh Air Fund Salutes American Heroes at Tavern on the Green in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Designer Kate Spade arriving at the 2002 Ace Awards presented by The Accessories Council at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. November 5, 2002. Photo by Evan Agostini/ImageDirect.
Kate Spade during The Concert for New York City - After Party at Hudson Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Kate Spade during 13th Annual Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year Awards - Arrivals at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Kate Spade with husband and brother-in-law David Spade at the 20th Annual American Fashion Awards at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City. 06/14/2001. Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect
Kate Spade during 17th Annual CFDA Awards at JP Morgan Atrium in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Designer Kate Spade is photographed at her offices. (Photo by David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kate Spade and Andy Spade during Costume Institute Benefit Dance: 'Party of the Year' - Arrivals at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Kate Spade during 14th Annual GLAMOUR Women of the Year Awards - Red Carpet at American Museum of Natural History in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Kate Spade (Photo by Carley Margolis/FilmMagic)
Kate Spade during CFDA 7th on Sale Kick-Off - Red Carpet and Inside at Sky Light Studios in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage for LaForce and Stevens)
NEW YORK - JUNE 7: Designer Kate Spade attends the '2004 CFDA Fashion Awards' at the New York Public Library June 7, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Kate Spade, Andy Spade and Ruth Lande Shuman, founder/president of Publicolor (Photo by Carley Margolis/FilmMagic)
David Spade and Kate Spade during Photographer's Gallery Presents Slim Aarons Curated by Kate Spade at Fred Segal Cafe in West Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Weeks/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - APRIL 30: Kate Spade and Andy Spade attend PARSONS The NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN 59TH ANNUAL BENEFIT and FASHION SHOW Honoring SUSAN D. KRONICK, Vice Chairman, Federated Department Stores, Inc. at Grand Hyatt on April 30, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by JIMI CELESTE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Kate Spade attends the 2015 Basser Center For BRCA Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Kate Spade speaks on stage at Build Series Presents Kate Spade and Andy Spade Discussing Their Latest Project Frances Valentine at Build Studio on April 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage)
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They sold their remaining 44% stake in the business to Neiman Marcus for $59 million in 2006, which already owned the other 56%. She and Andy then became detached, even though Kate's name is still featured in stores everywhere. At that time, Andy left to start his own creative agency and Kate became a mother full time.

Fifth & Pacific (then known as Liz Claiborne) bought the brand from Neiman Marcus for $124 million shortly after. That combined company was purchased by Coach parent Tapestry for $2.4 billion in 2017.

Kate and Andy Spade didn't consider themselves fashion designers. They said as much in a 2013 interview with Women's Wear Daily, in which they looked back at the fashion house they'd founded.

12 PHOTOS
Celebs wearing Kate Spade throughout the years
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Celebs wearing Kate Spade throughout the years
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 07: Taylor Swift is seen on July 07, 2014 in New York City holding a Kate Spade Purse. (Photo by Gardiner Anderson/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 10: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends the World Mental Health Day celebration with Heads Together at the London Eye on October 10, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
PORT WASHINGTON, NY - JUNE 25: Leighton Meester holding a woven Kate Spade purse and Blake Lively on location for 'Gossip Girl' on June 25, 2008 in Port Washington, New York. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20: Victoria Justice is seen wearing Kate Spade in Gramercy Park on March 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: Actor Isla Fisher Kate Spade presentation during New York Fashion Week: The Shows on February 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Mandy Moore attends the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on June 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Ellie Kemper attends the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on June 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
MAY 31, 2017: SYDNEY, NSW - (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Newly married Pippa Middleton boards a seaplane in a Kate Spade stripe dress after enjoying lunch with husband James Matthews at the Cottage Point Inn in Sydney, New South Wales. (Photo by Rohan Kelly/Newspix/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits The Foundling Museum on November 28, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: Actor Lucy Hale attends the Kate Spade presentation during New York Fashion Week: The Shows on February 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: Actress Millie Bobby Brown arrives at The BAFTA Tea Party at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Actress Jamie Chung attends the Kate Spade New York - Presentation - Fall 2016 show during New York Fashion Week at The Rainbow Room on February 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Killian/WireImage)
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The couple said they could watch how the brand was doing only from "a healthy distance."

"It's like watching a stock," Andy said to Women's Wear Daily, adding that they'd stayed with the brand about five years longer than he thought they would.

"We never thought about starting a company. We just said, 'Let's make some bags and see what happens,'" Andy said.

The duo would head back into the fashion space in 2016 with a new company, Frances Valentine, which sells luxury handbags and footwear.

Kim Bhasin contributed reporting to an earlier version of this story.

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SEE ALSO: Designer Kate Spade has died in an apparent suicide at 55

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