BR I E F I N G
COMUNITYmade SHANNON and SEAN SCOTT create shoes with a purpose. BY KELLY WOYAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY IRWIN MILLER
mashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan said that when he wrote the hit song 1979, it came to him visually. “Sometimes when I write a song, I see a picture in my head….sort of a feeling waiting for something to happen and not quite being there yet, but it’s just around the corner.” Longtime Smashing Pumpkins’ fans and shoe designers, Sean and Shannon Scott, were literally walking the street corners of DTLA after one of the band’s shows in 2016 when Shannon had an epiphany. “I told Sean there was just something about the buzz down here. I could feel it. Just walking the streets you could feel this energy, this pulse,” says Shannon. “I had this really clear vision on how it was going to happen. I was amped from the music and we were Downtown and I thought to myself – I totally see this. This is what it is, this is where it is going to go. I saw everything so clearly,” says Shannon. After that fateful night, their company COMUNITYmade was born. Today, it’s a thriving business with shoes that are made by local craftsman and manufactured in LA’s Art District. But it is so much more than a shoe company; they donate $10 of every pair sold to handpicked local organizations that support the arts, education and ending homelessness. COMUNITYmade aims to be a catalyst for change right here in their backyard, by doing what they do best – design, make and sell shoes.
Shannon and Sean Scott outside their shoe store, COMUNITYmade, in Downtown LA
It was a natural progression for the married couple of 21 years and longtime footwear alums of companies such as Asics, Nike, Vans and TOMS. “I was at Asics for 27 years. I think the reason I stayed there so long is because I really believed in the founder’s (Kihachiro Onitsuka) mission. It was all about building community. He wanted to start making shoes for the kids in the streets, (of Japan), for sports because he thought sports was a good binder for building communities. These kids were playing in the streets barefoot amid the rubble, and he wanted to do something really simple. That all stuck with me. Every day I would come to work for a guy who just had this really clear vision about building community,” says Shannon, who was Asics longtime Vice President and senior director of marketing communications. Shannon’s path crossed with Sean’s while at Asics. For Sean, a shoe designer and entrepreneur, it would also set forth a plan toward finding purpose within the shoe industry. He went on to work for Nike, Vans and even to start his own skate shoe company. But it wasn’t until his work at TOMS in 2006 when his vision widened. “TOMS was an eye-opener. Shannon and I went on that first shoe drop together, in Argentina, as an anniversary gift to ourselves. We always wanted to do something philanthropic and this was a good opportunity, but neither of us thought a pair of shoes could change someone’s life. What we realized was that shoes, for a lot of these people, were their path to the church, which is usually the social center of a lot of these villages. It’s a path to school, you can’t go without shoes. After that trip, Shannon and I had to find a way to help and make it work,” says Sean. COMUNITYmade opened its doors in August 2017 in the Arts District after researching the best fit for a showroom. It’s a place with distinct energy, and the residents are committed to preserving its sophisticated street art vibe. “It’s intangible, you can’t really describe it. But
12 LA HOME | SPRING/SUMMER 2019