Kate Spade and Urban Outfitters’ new release begs an existential question: Who are you?


Summer took flight this week with an unexpected yet chic return: a Kate Spade ‘90s icon. Urban Outfitters brought back the fashion house’s memorable shoulder bag — one that epitomizes 1990’s downtown New York — with a bang. Taking over a gallery on Chrystie Street, Urban Outfitters decked the place with the bag (and life-size images of it) in three quintessential prints: black and white polka dot, rainbow stripe, and the iconic all-black iteration. And don’t be fooled — these prints aren’t just aesthetic decoration. The tight edit of patterns present an existential question: Which one are you?

Ahead of the event, we had this question answered for us. I (Megan) was positive I was an all-black shoulder bag through and through. Alas, I was pegged as a pink-yellow-black-and-blue stripe girl. What does this say about ME? Perhaps it’s time to present an alter ego, etc etc. On the other hand, Gutes felt seen. I’ll let her weigh in here.

Now hear me (Gutes) out. The answer to “Which bag are you?” is not as simple as an aesthetic evaluation. It’s a deeper investigation of what we carry (both literally and metaphorically) and what that says about us. If what you carry is void of color, you yourself might be void of a more spiritual color. Or, you might be so secure in your spiritual color that you don’t need it represented aesthetically. What I’m saying is that the all-black shoulder bag doesn’t scream growth. In fact, it doesn’t scream at all. And if there’s anything I know about us (me and Megan), it’s that we’re in a perpetual state of evolution.

Pegging Megan as a “a pink-yellow-black-and-blue stripe girl” goes beyond what it represents visually. Yes, she wears more pink, yellow, and blue than me (DO NOT READ INTO THIS; IT’S AN AESTHETIC OBSERVATION), but she also connects to the world on a more holistic level. Consider, for a moment, that a stripe is a line. Mathematically speaking, lines without endpoints are infinite. And at the risk of getting too sappy on main, Megan O’Sullivan is infinite. She is a “pink-yellow-black-and-blue stripe girl” because her world is limitless and full of color. We should be so LUCKY to be pegged as that.

I’m back, and I’ll just say this: WHEN was the last time I wore pink OR yellow?! Literally never, maybe a rare pink, certainly not yellow, so I needed to clear that up. But Gutes is right, we contain multitudes, and we are lucky to be pegged as such. And interpreting stripes as infinite lines? Genius, but I’m not surprised by this level of imagination. And otherwise, she is so the iconic black-and-white polka, a girl that stands the test of time, a girl who is uniquely creative, classic, and just pops. So they got that right. We’ll address this further, keep reading.

Anyway, we digress. This isn’t even about us, it’s about Kate Spade. We walked into the function with our respective bags and were welcomed with a visual feast we could have never anticipated. The event was titled “Stitch in Time,” and that it was. They created a moment. This is the bag-launch-art-exihibit combo order we crave. Curated by creative director Anna Ling of Maruchi House, the walls were covered with works from artists that embody the spirit of the bag itself. Whomst, you ask? Cristina Wright, Jackie Slanley, Bel Mehta, Claire Duport, and Jennifer Mifi Laflamme, to name a few.

Meanwhile, around the room was a cute cocktail of faces to go with this combo order of an event. Harry Hill sipped his drink while side-eyeing (isn’t this what he always does) while carrying (now this is tea) a multi-colored striped bag. What does this say about Harry? There’s something to chew on.

Around Harry was his cohort of gorlies: Abby Nierman, Brittani Nichole Tucker, and Katryna. DJ Key set the tone of the scene while artists, creators, writers, and more characters mingled, facing their own existential assessment: Which Kate Spade bag would I be? Who am I? Therein lies the Great Kate Debate.

From Chrystie Street, we sauntered east to Casetta where the discussion continued. We ran into our friend (old to Gutes, new to Meg) Peter Vack. IYKYK. After explaining the conundrum to Peter — who happens to be a great analyst of these questions, his parents are psychoanalysts, after all — he weighed in. Peter affirmed our deepest suspicions: You can be more than one thing, you can be a stripe, a polka dot, an all-black. And most importantly, even if pegged as one that feels off, it’s just an opportunity to self examine and express your deeper, darker (all-black) character. You are the decider of your fate.

Pick yours here.

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