Angela Scott’s heirloom-worthy designs—offering burnished leathers and hand-painted stripes—build on the legacy of handcrafted shoes in Portugal.

While some fashion brands are reinventing themselves during the COVID-19 crisis, Angela Scott is doubling down on her love for traditional shoemaking. The self-taught designer behind The Office of Angela Scott built a shoe brand from scratch just nine years ago, led by a desire to create a product that would support and empower women.

Now, amidst a world of change, including the recent loss of her beloved grandmother and a factory shutdown in Portugal, Scott’s new fall collection reflects an even greater reverence for time-honored traditions. Offering hand-detailed patterns and resoleable construction, her new shoe designs pull the past forward with styles inspired by the ageless beauty of women. Below, she speaks about her unconventional journey and how the brand has responded to current uncertainties.

The fall 2020 collection from The Office of Angela Scott honors the ageless beauty and strength of women. Shown here, the Mrs. Doubt Midheel features contrasting shades of leather with intricate brogue details.

The fall 2020 collection from The Office of Angela Scott honors the ageless beauty and strength of women. Shown here, the Mrs. Doubt Midheel features contrasting shades of leather with intricate brogue details. 

Photo by Jeff Clark

How did you get started as a designer?

Angela Scott: I always had a love for footwear but fashion school seemed unattainable, too expensive to afford on my own. I received a partial scholarship to the University of California at Santa Barbara and worked at a construction company to help pay tuition. I fell in love with the process of building. From the concept to the drawings and then seeing the completed structure—I was totally fascinated. But that’s also where I learned I didn’t want to be a woman running in high heels behind men, because that was me. I was around an all-male crew 99 percent of the time, and I felt that I had to dress in a certain way to be taken seriously. It made an impression on me, and I wanted to change it. 

Each pair of shoes are constructed by hand at a family-owned factory in Portugal using Italian leather and textiles. Skilled craftspeople assemble the components over the course of several weeks, adding elements such as a cork insole board, a dovetail heel, and a resoleable outsole.

Each pair of shoes are constructed by hand at a family-owned factory in Portugal using Italian leather and textiles. Skilled craftspeople assemble the components over the course of several weeks, adding elements such as a cork insole board, a dovetail heel, and leather outsole that can be re-soled.

Photo by Jeff Clark

When my husband and I moved to Dallas for his career, I went to work in public relations for Neiman Marcus, which resparked my love for fashion. At Neiman Marcus I saw a divide in the offerings for women in the way of flat shoes. In the mens department I would see these incredible lace up brogues and stunning dress shoes but none of the sort for women. Not being a ballet-flat-kind-of girl meant my other choices were stilettos or boots.

I started The Office of Angela Scott to offer women shoes that were equal parts beauty and function—shoes that made them feel and stand confident while they achieve incredible things in their careers. I wanted to take the same craftsmanship offered to men and recreate the designs in a way that would feel powerful and feminine for women. The brand is not about me as a designer, my name, or even our shoes. It’s about the women that wear our shoes. That’s why I decided to call it The Office of Angela Scott, because it represents all women. We are the office.

The fall 2020 collection seeks to strike a balance between unparalleled comfort and strength. Here, the Mr. Logan Oxford features a stacked leather heel and rubber lug outsole.

The fall 2020 collection seeks to strike a balance between unparalleled comfort and strength. Here, the Mr. Logan Oxford features a rubber lug heel and outsole.

Photo by Trevor Paulhus

See the full story on Dwell.com: Q&A: Meet the Designer Determined to Preserve the Traditional Craft of Shoemaking
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