The Office of ANGELA SCOTTLEFAIR
The Office of Angela Scott, a luxury punk footwear brand with attitude, recently opened its flagship store on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles. Angela Scott puts quality and attention to detail above all else. Her designs blur the lines between masculine and feminine, inspiring confidence and independence within the women who wear them. Check out the shoes at www.theofficeofangelascott.com
MR: What prompted your love of footwear?
AS: I’ve always appreciated traditional craftsmanship. My grandfather was in the furniture business. Hence, the dovetail that is on the heel strike of all my oxfords (it’s an ode to my love of my Nono). I used to think he was in the mafia because he was old-school Italian with a furniture store. He was your typical Italian. I don’t think I ever saw him out of a suit. A lot of designers have idols, well my idol was my grandfather, Frank Dellamaggiorie. I wanted to dress just like him— bow ties and all.
MR: How did you fall into shoe design?
AS: My interest in shoe design originated mostly from my love of footwear. I’ve had a really strong passion for footwear since I was a kid. I was that girl who everyone always asked, “Where are those shoes from?” I always had a new pair of interesting shoes and felt like they were my form of expression. And even though my parents always told me to do what I loved, I just never thought shoes were going to be a career. When I went to college to study English at UCSB I interned at UGG (thank you big brother Nate) and that was the footwear introduction to the path that would lead me to The Office of Angela Scott.
I’ve had a really strong passion for footwear since I was a kid. I was that girl who everyone always asked, “Where are those shoes from?” -Angela Scott
MR: What has been your biggest struggle in building your company?
AS: Being solo has been a struggle. I was the underdog. I did not have classical training. I wasn’t in the fashion industry and I never worked in retail. I thought fashion would be a hobby and a personal expression. I was going to school to become a teacher since I always loved kids. I worked at UGG but usually people who start their own fashion brands have worked with fashion brands and have gone to proper art schools. I had no mentors and no one came in and told me how to design shoes. So I went straight to the factory. I thought, “If I’m going to do this, I need to learn how to make shoes.”
Now my shoes are carried at Neiman Marcus. I’m so lucky to be one of their designers. I look around at their selection and I see YSL, Chloe, Marni, Louboutin and me and I’m flipping out. I’m in with the big dogs, now I just have to prove why I’m here and keep designing shoes that inspire women to wear them. It’s a struggle but also such a reward because if I can get this far on hard work and determination, sky’s the limit, right? It’s almost like my weakness has been my greatest strength.
“I’m in with the big dogs, now I just have to prove why I’m here and keep designing shoes that inspire women to wear them.” -Angela Scott
MR: What’s the next move?
AS: Next move is really expanding the company as a lifestyle brand. When I first got into this, I thought I would just do shoes, but now that I’m here rooted back in California, I see the brand as a woman’s suitcase. And what do you fill a suitcase with? You fill it with a chic pair of brogues, wingtip Chelsea boots, a button-up shirt, a shirt-dress, a pair of leather pants, a cashmere sweater, and a beautiful leather satchel for paperwork or essentials. If I can fill that suitcase, I will be so thrilled.
I don’t need to be a fashion brand that has runway shows and 500 stores. I don’t want to be trendy. I just want to be classic. The idea is that you can put that suitcase in any decade and it will always be wearable.
MR: What sort of role does gender play in your designs?
AS: I was adopted and the family that adopted me had all boys. My mother wanted a girl and she got a girl who wanted to be a boy. She put me in frilly dresses and then ten seconds later I’d be in my brothers’ corduroys with mud all over me. I stole my grandfather’s bow ties. I just loved menswear. I loved traditional menswear, boy stuff. I think it’s just from being around men all the time. The design definitely speaks to my feelings on femininity. This is coming from someone who, before starting her own brand, wore what my friend calls “condos,” or super tall high heels. As I matured, the idea of femininity brought me back to the women I love, like Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Marlene Dietrich. These women wore FLATS! Why do we think femininity is related to high heels? I think there’s something sexy about wearing men’s clothes. A woman who can look sexy in menswear, is SUPER sexy. It becomes more about the person rather than the clothing. She is fully clothed and comfortable, but not hiding behind the clothes. It’s you, your own skin, jeans, t-shirt, and a pair of oxfords. That is my idea of modern beauty.
“A woman who can look sexy in menswear, is SUPER sexy. It becomes more about the person rather than the clothing. She is fully clothed and comfortable, but not hiding behind the clothes. It’s you, your own skin, jeans, t-shirt, and a pair of oxfords. That is my idea of modern beauty.” -Angela Scott
MR: Tell me about the conception of the brand.
AS: I started the brand idea my first year of college when I was interning at UGG. I had these books and journals I would build of what the brand would look like and what started out as just tears and collages became more mature. I slowly began researching costs, factories, how many styles I’d want in my first collection and what it would take to launch. It was funny because at the time, I started dating someone in the footwear industry who would later become my husband and the second half of the name of the brand. When I came up with the name it was this play on masculine and feminine and what better way to do that then to combine my name and my husband’s name. It started off as “Angela Scott.” “The Office of” came from wanting to bring in a more old-school feel. I didn’t want it to be about a specific person. I didn’t really want it to be about me. Growing up, I was surrounded by men who had these workspaces or offices in which they were most creative, like my father and his workshop. I wanted The Office of Angela Scott to be a space where the creativity is pooled. And now with the shop I have my own office, which is located in the back of the store. I like to think that between that office and my office in Santa Barbara, that that’s where the creativity happens.