Angela Scott had a clear vision of what a brogue designed specifically for a woman should be when she founded her footwear line, The Office of Angela Scott, in 2012. The frequent traveler wanted a shoe that was as comfortable and high-quality as its male counterparts, but stylish enough to hold up against any designer dress shoe with a high heel.
She also proved that the women’s footwear market needed a punch of color with her hot pink striped oxfords, polka doted lace-ups and metallic cap-toe monk strap loafers. The line gradually expanded to include women’s chunky heel loafers, Chelsea boots and modern twists on classic silhouettes for men.
And so it should come as no surprise that Scott also had a definite concept for her new retail location, a 721-square-foot, punk-meets-luxury boutique down the street from Nasty Gal, Fred Segal and Adidas Originals on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The store opened in November, following her move from Texas back to her native California.
Scott said the store is an immersive experience, taking advantage of the “touch and feel” effect that remains of the physical retailing’s last remaining advantages. “When you do just shoes it’s hard to show what the whole aesthetic looks like,” Scott said. “I want somebody to feel like they’re walking into my home.”
The store is a stage for Scott to tell her brand’s story about tradition, craftsmanship and quality. As Scott explained, the desire for items that are comfortable and well-made is not specific to menswear.
“The reality of it is, [women] have to suffer,” Scott said about dress footwear. While there is a tradition of craftsmanship with men’s shoes, Scott noted that most women’s footwear is glued rather than stitched and generally don’t possess the same level of quality or comfort.
For her line, Scott works with two family-run factories, one in Portugal and one in Italy, which she visits every other month.
During those visits, Scott said she gets swept up in the excitement of the environment. They’ll go from an intense argument to all having lunch together, she said. “None of this can be done on your own,” she added. “They know footwear better than me. They’ve been in it for generations now.”
The Office of Angela Scott is rooted in the heritage of manufacturing, but Scott keeps the story fresh each season by submersing herself in the lifestyle of her core customer: a confident woman who is looking for something that’s luxurious but with an edge. For Spring ’16, Scott is dabbling with suede, nubuck leather and soft nappa leather. The materials stray from the hard menswear leathers the line launched with four years ago.
And unable to shake off her own Californian roots, Scott is introducing slip-on sneakers—a casual alternative to her tailored oxfords and a shoe she needed in her own closet.
“My husband and I were at the beach and he was laughing at me because I was in leather-soled oxfords,” she said.