Christian Siriano Opens Up About Kate Spade’s Death

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Over a week after Kate Spade‘s tragic suicide death in her Manhattan apartment, fans of the designer continue to mourn her loss and remember her legacy. An outpouring of stars like Viola Davis, Reese Witherspoon and Spade’s niece, actress Rachel Brosnahan, have spoken out about the loss of the fashion icon and the impact she made on the fashion world. And designer Christian Siriano is opening up about how the industry is bouncing back after her tragic loss, and why he credits her with “starting” the handbag industry.

“It’s hard to hear those things when it’s self harm, those are the hardest to move on from,” Siriano shared with PEOPLE of Spade’s loss on Monday. “And somebody like her who had an iconic brand, and I think everybody had a story about her in some way or another, how she touched them.”

RELATED PHOTOS: Kate Spade’s Celebrity Fans and Most Memorable Pop Culture Moments

Siriano, 32, has outfitted stars like Ashley Graham, Janelle Monae, Michelle Obama and many more, and adds that Spade and her brand, Kate Spade New York, had an influence on his own career, as he first discovered her designs in his mom’s wardrobe.

“My mom’s Kate Spade bag was one of the first fashion bags that she carried and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I love this,’” he says. “I think a lot of young designers kind of felt like she started that whole industry, she really did. My heart goes out to her family.”

Fellow designer Cynthia Rowley, a friend of Spade’s, also spoke out about her death on Twitter when the news first broke, and shared a photo of herself and Spade when they were both pregnant. “Here we are in happier times, I’ll miss my dear friend Kate. My thoughts are with her family,” she wrote.

And CFDA chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg and CEO and President Steven Kolb released a statement about the designer, who won two CFDA awards in the past.

“The CFDA is devastated to hear the news of our friend, colleague, and CFDA member Kate Spade’s tragic passing. She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories.

We want to honor her life and her major contribution to the fashion business and express our most sincere condolences to the family.”

Spade’s husband and business partner, Andy Spade, broke his silence last Wednesday, sharing that she suffered from depression.

“Kate was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known and my best friend for 35 years,” he said in a statement to PEOPLE. “My daughter and I are devastated by her loss, and can’t even begin to fathom life without her. We are deeply heartbroken and miss her already.”

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