JASON SCHOTT, 42, SPENT HIS CHILDHOOD sweeping the
floors of his family’s New Jersey coat factory. Now, as COO
for the Union-based company, Schott NYC ( schottnyc.com),
he still loves the smell of leather as he walks the floor, managing day-to-day operations of the brand his great, grandfather Irving Schott started with his brother Jack in his Lower
East Side apartment in 1913. Irving first made a raincoat;
later, the brothers were commissioned by the Air Force to
make bomber jackets and pea coats for
soldiers in World War II. After the war,
the pair created a classic motorcycle
jacket that landed on the back of Mar-
lon Brando in The Wild One and became
James Dean’s signature look. Both styles
are still in the line today. In the ’70s and
’80s, the brand, known for its rebel look,
became a favorite of rock and punk artists
like Bruce Springsteen, the Ramones,
Blondie, Joan Jett and the Sex Pistols. Today’s superstar fans
include Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna.
But mere mortals have loved Schott’s jackets for years,
and now a new legion of fans have discovered the collection.
“For years people saw us as a jacket company. [We’re] now
a lifestyle brand with sweaters, shirts, sweatshirts, hats and
T-shirts,” says Schott. He’s even collaborated with designer
Ralph Lauren, who visited Schott’s New York store one day
and admired the vintage jackets on display. Schott worked
on a few styles with the designer under the Double RL label,
which retailed in both companies’ stores.
The majority of Schott’s time is spent in Union at the
offices and factory with his mother, the president, and his
uncle, the CEO, and 100 employees. “We invite people to
tour our factory, and they are amazed at the amount of work
that goes into one jacket,” he explains. It takes about eight
hours to complete one, and 40 to 50 hands touch it. Prices
range from cloth coats at $175 to leathers that run as high as
$1,300. When many companies moved production overseas
for cheaper prices, Schott resisted.
“In places like Japan, they’ve appreciated made-in-America brands for a long time. In the last five years, I think
Americans are doing the same. Through our website and
social media, we have told the story of how the product is
made, and customers are interested in that. I think the trend
in fashion is supporting heritage brands, things that hold up
over time.” —KATHLEEN NICHOLSON WEBBER
Stylephile EDITED BY DEBORAH CARTER & SUSAN BRIERLY BUSH
FASHION :: ACCESSORIES :: HOME :: HEALTH :: BEAUTY :: ENTERTAINING
Schott NYC: An
Iconic Leather Brand
jacket with asym-
metrical zip; $720.
jacket with antique
brass trim; $785.
Jason Schott helms
the business his
started in 1913.
Right, a 100-year
chronicles the com-pany's history.