New Brand, New Name: An Interesting Publicity Stunt

Kate Spade, co-founder of the popular fashion line by the same name, has announced that she has officially changed her last name to Valentine. This change is to show her commitment to her new venture with husband Andy Spade, a line entitled Frances Valentine.

Frances Valentine is supposed to be a brand that largely sells accessories. The brand actually has a Kate Spade-esque origin in that its main products are footwear and handbags. Both Kate Valentine and Andy Spade are returning to their design roots, designing accessories as they once did for the eponymous Kate Spade New York.

Despite this change, there is no need to rush to nearby Kate Spade New York stores. The beloved brand, known for its classic, mid-20th century silhouettes and quirky handbags, was sold to Liz Claiborne a decade ago and will continue to function as normal. If anything, the designer’s new surname is “to distinguish the brand name and separate the Frances Valentine and Kate Spade New York worlds in a form of respect to both of the brands,” as Valentine told Business Fashion.

Maybe this name change is an overly drastic move, but it does have fair intentions. As Valentine also told Business Fashion, she “is obviously proud of the Kate Spade New York brand that she created with her husband, and she doesn’t want to take away from the brand’s success with the same exact name for a completely different brand.” Even though the designer has respect on her mind when thinking of the two lines, is this an ongoing trend in the fashion world? Does it take a major change or decision by a designer to gain publicity for a new business venture or collection? Although Valentine’s choice seems odd, sensationalism attracts attention, and a name change is an effective scheme to increase publicity for a new line. While many seem to be in support of the move, others hope that this will actually pay off when Frances Valentine launches this month. A new name may be drastic, but is probably just the stunt the Frances Valentine brand needed for a successful debut.

This drastic new form of publicity is just in time for the official launch of the Frances Valentine brand, occurring this month. The name change also places Valentine and husband Spade back on the radar or the proverbial “fashion map,” since they had been absent from the Kate Spade New York brand since 2006. Almost ten years later, this power couple is back with a new fashion venture and Valentine’s name change has managed to replace the need for advertisement campaigns and marketing strategies galore.

Mallori Albright is a staff writer. Email her at violetvision@nyunews.com.

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