Avant Garde is Not the Cat’s Meow (for a Teen Fashionista)

Cats and Kate Spade are not concepts I associate together. Ever.

Then, my mom got an e-mail with the subject “When the Cat’s Away…” and this was what she found inside:

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 3.36.36 PMLet me just say a few things: One, I love Kate Spade. Two, I understand many people will be a fan of this line. Three, I get that a lot of what Kate Spade does is create pieces that are conversation starters.

I just can’t get behind this specific line in any way, shape, or form. Particularly because it ruins the idea of the aesthetic Kate Spade is known for maintaining. This seems way out of the realm of what they would ever sell. I truly understand the appeal of some of their other avant grade pieces – the Wing It Butterfly clutch, the All Aboard Ship Clutch… they seem on trend and on theme with garden and sailor obsessions so many have.

I guess my overarching problem is that I have such a hard time buying into avant garde as a teen fashionista. It seems to be a category that only a small, very wealthy subset of people have use for. It’s so flashy and out there – not to mention expensive. I love the idea of pushing boundaries and doing something different, but I think I speak for a lot of Kate Spade’s customers when I say this is not something that would ever be added to our online shopping cart.

Kate Spade lies in a limbo between high end and accessible, with it being in many department stores and having an outlet counterpart with irresistible prices. It attracts a lot of teens who want designer bags without paying a hefty amount – and in releasing this line, they are cutting out that large part of their audience. Yes, they do have to push boundaries and try new things, but a lot of their customers don’t have 398 dollars to spend on a clutch that says Paws Off at the top.

Have I just ruined my chance of ever working with Kate Spade? Maybe. (Dear KS, I swear I really do love you!)

What do you think of the concept of avant garde fashion? 

xoxo, Jamie

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8 Responses to Avant Garde is Not the Cat’s Meow (for a Teen Fashionista)

  1. Cathleen says:

    I TRULY admire your bravery that shines through your blog.. And your honesty.. and honestly everything. You know how much I love TFN! But I really enjoyed this post. Sometimes it comes across like I’m the only blogger in our “niche” that just can’t afford to spend $400 on pieces I would probably only wear once.. or for one specific occasion. It’s just not practical! Thanks for writing this post:) Hope you’re having fun in Puerto Rico!

    • The Fashion Newcomer says:

      Thank you so SO SO much Cathleen!!! I truly appreciate your support – it means a lot to me!! I completely agree – fashion, to some extent, should be practical. xoxo

  2. Nicole says:

    JAMIE!!!!!!!!!!! THIS. IS. SO. PERFECT. I am SUCH a loyal Kate Spade customer and this collection confuses me so much. Every comment you made was spot on. I like to consider myself a trendy person, especially for my age, but this just makes no sense. Not that brands must follow the seasonal trends by any means, but I don’t think I saw any mice on the F/W 2015-16 trend report this year. I was in the Kate Spade store in SoHo yesterday (which was amazing) and I saw some of these bags in person. While they were very nicely crafted and looked like top notch quality, if I’m going to buy a handbag/purse/anything of that quality and price point, it is going to be something versatile that I can use for a long time.

    Jamie– you are seriously amazing for pushing boundaries and questioning one of the brands that so many people follow and support, especially in the blogging world. I think ESPECIALLY as KS lovers, it is necessary to step back and question what the brand is doing and you did that perfectly. Can’t wait to talk more when you’re home from your amazing PR getaway!! XO, Nicole

    • The Fashion Newcomer says:

      Thank you SO SO SO much!! Nicole you are the best – this comment brought a huge smile to my face. Your opinion means a lot to me!! I’d love to see the bags in person – perhaps when we meet up in NYC? xoxo

  3. Rach Martin says:


    I’m not a huge fan of the “conversation starter” pieces that Kate Spade has come out with. I absolutely love their classic line of bags, shoes, jewelry, and other accessories but these “conversation pieces” (in my mind) are a little tacky. There is no way in hell I would purchase something that I would get one use out of that’s so expensive!

    Thanks for speaking your mind, girl!

    Xo, Rach

  4. Brooke says:

    I can not say this enough – thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this! I am fairly young and as a result do not have a job except for various things like chores, etc. I also still outgrow my clothes so I can not go spend a ton of money on something that could only last me a year or two. Because of this I can’t buy a lot of the latest trends or high fashion pieces no matter how badly I want them. You warmed my heart a little bit today by reminding me that I am not the only one who can’t afford everything I would like, and that just because someone has a job does not mean they have all the money in the world.

    And as your bravery – sometimes people will blindly follow brands, as Nicole so wisely pointed out. It can be hard to step away and call brands out when there is a good chance you will get hate for it. Yet you still wrote this post, and published what many of us were thinking yet not daring to say. This post right here perfectly captures why I love your blog.

    • The Fashion Newcomer says:

      I am so so so SO glad you liked the most – it means a lot! I agree – bloggers like to pretend they can afford everything and throw money around, but that’s typically just not the case. If i have $400 it’s not going towards a cat themed bag! This comment made my day, and I cannot thank you for stopping by and leaving me this note!! xoxo

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