90 Years Old and Still Perfecto

It's 1928 and Irving Schott likes to smoke cigars. The outerwear company he started with his brother, Jack, is in its 15th year and they are finding success as the Schott Bros N.Y.C. machine keeps rolling ahead. Their factory in South Amboy, N.J. is churning out leather and wool daily to meet order demands and Schott has just opened their first retail store at 96 E. Broadway on the Lower East side of Manhattan.

Irving has been designing a horsehide leather jacket with motorcycle riders specifically in mind. The jacket has an asymmetrical zipper, big snap down lapels, and a belt to keep the wind out for riders. He deserves that cigar, his favorite brand of Cubans is "Perfecto".

Schott N.Y.C.'s motorcycle jacket is a globally recognized design from a globally recognized brand. This year marks the 90 year anniversary since Schott revolutionized outerwear and garment design with the introduction of its Perfecto jacket. The original retailed at a Long Island Harley Davidson distributor for just $5.50 and the jacket itself spun off the Perfecto line of outerwear for the company. It wasn't until the 1950s that the Schott motorcycle jacket would become iconic when Marlon Brando wore it in the "The Wild One". In the flick, Brando sports the Schott Perfecto with a silver star on the epaulets and a pair of 501xx Levi's on a Triumph Thunderbird 6T.



The jacket took on  a whole new level of rebel and was instantly recognizable. Some school boards even banned the jacket for students because it was part of the "hoodlum" look.

The 1970s saw another spike when Rockers fully embraced the Schott jacket over other trendy brands, the most well known probably being The Ramones. They were all decked out in jeans, canvas shoes and black leather jackets and were absolutely striking when they rocked out at CBGB. Debbie Harry wore a Perfecto with the sleeves cut off and Bruce Springsteen wore one on the cover of his Born to Run album.



Schott N.Y.C is the American Dream personified. Sons of immigrants who start a company that thrives for over 100 years. None of this is hyperbole. They still roll out classic silhouettes as well as collaborations with newer brands and new takes on their jackets.



Schott's Perfecto is universal while still remaining on the fringes. It was both the revolution and the resurgence. Bikers, rockers, punks and artists have continued to sing its praises and shout its tradition by laying the leather on their shoulders and high fashion designers owe a nod of  respect when they reinterpret a motorcycle jacket for the new season.

In 10 years the Perfecto will have its centennial and it will still be concentrated cool.


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