Photography by Donnell Culver
There are a few number of brands that people mention immediately when questioning the brand behind a particular piece or product. When it comes to leather jackets, people are quick to ask if it's from Schott and for good reason too. The brand that began in 1913 by the hands of Irving and Jack Schott has been the name on the tag of the first motorcycle leather jacket, and the name behind the symbol for rebellions youth. Schott jackets are deeply woven into American pop culture from when they're Perfecto style was banned from schools to when it became the hottest jacket on the market thanks to James Dean, and when it became the jacket of choice for CBGB hangouts and other punk rock influencers. There's no wonder why Schott is the first brand to come to mind in the presence of a leather jacket. Schott leather jackets have been the choice for almost all Americans across the US for a number of years, even in vintage. There's rich history in the details that gets rewritten by you at every wear.
We checked out the Schott NYC store in Nolita and saw our good friend Nate Bui, the Assistant Manager of the store, whom we discussed the brand and his style.
How would you describe the Schott style?
Schott is the original rebel style. Schott NYC designed the first black leather motorcycle jacket, the Perfecto. After Marlon Brando donned the One Star Perfecto in the Wild Ones, the motorcycle jacket has been the key piece to make you feel like a badass. The irony is that as a result of the movie, the jacket was banned in schools. After James Dean wore it in his heyday as a Hollywood star, the Perfecto jacket became the item that would signify the rebel image.
We have also made peacoats and bomber jackets for the military since as far back as WWII. The jackets have become synonymous with quality and durability.
Making jackets in America is one of the most important qualities of the brand. In the store, we also carry Lee Jeans and Chippewa Boots. Both companies have been around for as long as us and make quality garments in the USA that will last you a long time and complete the Schott look.
How does the style relate to your own?
Classic movies and the actors who starred in them have always influenced me. To be honest, and this sounds typical, I bought my Perfecto after seeing The Wild Ones when I was 14. Then I started to listen to Punk when I was around 17-18 and all the rockers were wearing Perfectos from The Ramones to Slash from Guns N Roses. I like to wear heritage brands. I love craftsmanship. If something is made with so much care, then you wouldn't have to buy anything else. My One Star Perfecto has become my staple piece and most of my friends would tell me that it's part of me.
How long have you had your Schott jacket and what's the story behind it?
I've had two. My first one was the 626 Perfecto, which is our newer cut. It is slimmer, longer and made out of a lighter weight cowhide. It is the updated version of the traditional asymmetrical motorcycle jacket that Irving Schott first designed. I gave it to my good friend, William Yan because it fit him like a glove. Then I got the 613 One Star Perfecto, I call it the original. It's the classic fit and boxier than my first one but I've always wanted what Brando wore. The leather is a heavy steerhide which keeps me warm in colder climates. I've been tailoring clothes since I was young so I made it much more form fitting. I also removed the belt because I felt it balances out my silhouette better. I like to make my jackets my own so I found several vintage pins that I put on the lapels. I've had it for almost three years and it's breaking in nicely and fits me like it was made for me. When it's hung up, the sleeves fold to resemble how my arm arches. That's how I know it's mine.
Is there a piece from this season that you wanted immediately after you saw it?
Several. Perfecto Brand is our premiere line of quality outerwear that is designed with a fashion forward thoughtfulness but always heritage first. It is much more tailored than our classic line. There's an A2 Bomber Jacket that's cut using a WWII pattern. It fits super slim and is made out of vegetable tanned lambskin. There's also a double-breasted, waxed canvas, wool lined, shawl collar peacoat. It is based on the logging coats that the 10th Mountain Division wore to combat the climate during WWII, we call it the Macinaw. My favorite has to be the 100th Anniversary re-release of the first Perfecto jacket. It is a brown asymmetrical zipped motorcycle jacket with black oxidized hardware. No stars on the epaulettes, just two silver bars. It uses the original D-pocket pattern and hardware that Irving Schott used on the original in 1928. It is hand oiled vegetable tanned cowhide. To see it in person has to be the best feast for your eyes.
What are you looking forward to seeing coming soon from the brand?
There are a lot of collaborations that I think would really crush the internet and bloggers all over. Were working with a certain leather supplier (which I cannot give the name to you or else I'll have to kill you) to make a limited batch of motorcycle jackets using our original Perfecto pattern. And for Spring, there are a lot of surprises. There will be a lot of canvas and indigo.