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Made in America: Schott NYC

Schott NYC leather jackets have been around for 100 years, and manufacturing has never left the United States

Kate Hogan's picture
by Kate Hogan on
Nov 13, 2017

Schott NYC is more than just a jacket-making company. The company has been manufacturing different jackets that have been worn by some of the coolest people of the last century. Marlon Brando, James Dean, Bruce Springsteen, and Steve McQueen are just a few celebrities that have donned the famous jackets. The company, started by two brothers in 1913 New York City, has been manufacturing jackets for over 100 years, and Schott NYC continues to make its jackets right here in the United States.

Irving and Jack Schott started making raincoats in a basement in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1913. Originally, they were sold by street salesmen door to door. He struck gold when he decided to put the still new invention of the zipper on a leather jacket. In 1928, Irving Schott designed and produced the world’s first leather motorcycle jacket. Named after Irving’s favorite cigar and retailing for $5.50, the Perfecto was quickly adopted by bikers. The jackets were durable and rugged, a perfect symbol for excitement, adventure, and danger. They were sold nationwide through a deal with Long Island Harley Davidson dealerships.

When World War II began, Schott was commissioned by the US Air Force to design and produce a “bomber jacket” that would be worn by soldiers in the air over Europe and the Pacific. Servicemen on the decks of ships would keep out the cold with Schott’s classic melton wool naval peacoat. Schott would produce these jackets for the US Military for the next 60 years.

After the war ended, the country witnessed the rise of rock and roll. In 1954, Marlon Brando donned a Schott Perfecto in the movie “The Wild Ones”, which really put Schott on the map. The jackets became a symbol of the bad boy and the rebel. Students would often be banned from wearing them at school. In the 70s and 80s, Schott became synonymous with the punk rock movement. The Perfecto became the uniform for bands like The Ramones, Blondie, Joan Jett and the Sex Pistols.

Schott has just recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary. They have moved their factory out of New York City and into Union, New Jersey. They have over 100 union employees that belong to Workers United Local 169C, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Jason Schott, the great-grandson of Irving Schott, runs the company as COO, along with his mother Roz Schott, the president. Schott has recently branched out to boutique retails stores, opening locations in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as six in Europe and another six in Japan. The company now sells peacoats, duffle coats, flight jackets, motorcycle jackets, nylon outerwear, knits and sportswear jackets. Modern celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Matthew McConaughey have all been photographed in Schott jackets.

Though the company has now been around for over 100 years, it never lost its roots. The Schott family not only kept the business in the United States but also employs unionized labor. As the weather drops into colder temperatures, make sure you keep yourself warm in a union-made, Made in the USA jacket, like one from Schott NYC.

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