An American Icon.

I recently purchased my first (and probably last, but not for the reasons most people say “probably last”) Schott Perfecto. I’ll write about it at a later date, but for today’s post I want to write about Schott NYC as a brand.

Schott NYC is a family-owned company that was started by the Schott brothers Irving and Jack back in 1913. The Schott brothers were the first to ever put a zipper on a jacket, and they’ve been at the forefront of outerwear style ever since.

The company is as quintissentially American as a company can get. It all began on Manhattan’s Lower East Side when Jack and Irving began making and selling raincoats. A little over a decade later they released what would become known as the Perfecto—an asymmetrical motorcycle jacket that has become synonymous with some of the most famous aspects of Americana—from movies about wild bikers to punk rock culture.

The company is still family-owned; Irving Schott’s granddaughter is the company president, and his great-grandson is the company COO. The factory and headquarters are in New Jersey, and the headquarters and flagship store are on Manhattan Island.

Few things are more iconic than the Schott “Perfecto” leather jacket. It’s one of the only pieces of outerwear that has been in style since it debuted in 1928, and it will probably still be in style long after my generation is dead and gone.

The Perfecto became immensely popular with the release of the 1953 film “The Wild One,” starring Marlon Brando. Since then, the Perfecto has remained a staple in pop culture. It wouldn’t be long before The Ramones, James Dean, John Travolta, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Depp, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and many more would make Perfecto the jacket to wear.

Today, the Perfecto transcends cultures and has become a staple for Williamsburg hipsters, hip-hop artists like Jay Z, Harley Davidson riders, and hot-rod greasers alike. Even Blake Lively has been spotted rocking her own Schott Perfecto.

I’m of the belief that everyone should have a good leather jacket in their closet. A well crafted jacket by a good leather manufacturer like Schott will last for several generations and only gets better with age. It’s an investment, to be sure (the most affordable Perfecto is $670), but it’s worth it. This isn’t a jacket that will last 5-10 years before you have to replace it; this is a jacket that will probably last 40-50 years before it’s time for something new. And even then, it’ll likely still be very wearable long after that.

If you ever get the chance to visit the Schott NYC flagship store, do yourself a favor and walk in. You won’t regret the experience. Like their display tag says: “We’ve been a frontrunner of American Cool longer than LP records, FM radio, stereos, Playboy, six packs, Las Vegas, T-shirts, and King Kong even existed. Not half bad.”

For more info or to do some shopping, check out Schott NYC’s website (schottnyc.com).

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