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Green Light for Green Label

by Yvette Coleman

Schott’s is one of the most noted leather brands in the business and is dominating the trends once again with a new collection. The nearly 100 hundred year old company has upped the ante with fashionable contemporary pieces that can be worn for many seasons to come. The craftsmanship in the new “Green Label” shows off SCHOTT’s ability to stay relevant.

Look for interesting, innovative details such as oversized hook and eye closures, studding and silk screen designs and logos. An unexpected mix of leather, wool, nylon and other materials keep classic pea coats, puffy coats, bombers and motorcycle jackets looking fresh. A variety of textured leathers offer another layer of visual interest. The “Green Label” collection also includes flattering jackets cut especially for a woman’s body as well as unique sportswear pieces such as a leather bustier and metallic motorcycle jackets. SCHOTT’s knows leather; and fourth generation member, Jason Schott, explains the history and classic style and heritage.

What does the name mean and why did you drop the "Bros"?
The name Schott comes from my great grandfather, who started the company with his brother in 1913. We started to emphasize “Schott NYC” over “Schott Bros” because New York City is such a romantic,exotic, almost mythical place for people throughout the world, and our brand has been based here for almost 100 years. You raise a timely question, because we have been strongly considering starting to focus more on “Bros” to highlight the Old World craftsmanship that goes into every one of our jackets.

How and why did SCHOTT start and who started it?
I’m the fourth generation in the company. When my great-grandfather, Irving Schott and his brother started it in a basement in NYC back in 1913, they didn’t think anyone would be interested in wearing clothing with their name on it, so they used the name of their favorite cut of cigar, the “Perfecto” by Schott Bros. They started selling door to door, then to motorcycle shops and eventually built up enough of a business to open a store front on East Broadway in NYC. It wasn’t until many years later, on the backs of legends like James Dean and Marlon Brando, that the family started to realize that what we had was much more than just a factory making jackets, but our own slice of the American Dream.

How has the leather industry changed over the years?
It’s pretty amazing how little has changed. We’re producing jackets the same way my great grandfather made them almost 100 years ago. Every piece of every leather jacket is cut by hand, one at a time, and produced one at a time. People who come to visit our factory are always struck by how labor intensive it is. That’s what makes it all that much more special that we’re still able to make a large percentage of our jackets here in the .

Even in terms of consumer tastes, some things seem to never go out of style. Marlon Brando wore our asymmetrical biker jacket in “The Wild One” in 1953, and to me there is still nothing cooler than that look. Leather just has a cool factor when it’s done right.

On the business side, there was a time when leather brands were a specialty classification. Shoes came from a shoe maker, leather jackets came from a leather jacket manufacturer. That is no longer the case. There are many more choices out there, and there are plenty of factories who pay for the right to use a brand name to help them sell more jackets. Some brands are better than others about protecting their name and the quality of the jackets that are produced with their name on it. In our factory, there’s a Schott family member on the floor, overseeing production, every day, making sure that our name in a jacket still stands for something.

Where does SCHOTT position itself with competitors such as Avirex and Pelle Pelle?

Our history has been the foundation of our position. We are true blue, bad-boy Americana. Schott is classic American fashion with a touch of irreverence. At retail we can be positioned next to a designer doing a leather jacket or we can hang in a young men’s area. The new Green Label collection will probably be seen as more contemporary.

What's next for SCHOTT?

We are opening stores in starting this fall, and the plan is to roll out additional product categories, including sportswear which is currently only available in Europe.

Words of wisdom from Jason Schott COO, Schott NYC and Joe Faris, Designer, Schott NYC:

There’s a time to put your head down and do your work and keep your mouth shut, and there’s a time to stand on top of the mountain and shout. There’s a time to listen to what others are telling you and a time to listen to yourself above all others. Knowing when to do each is the difference between those who make it and those who fail. Most importantly though, remain grounded, and don’t forget the little people. There are too many.

SCHOTT can be purchased at exclusive retailers like Colette in Paris or Opening Ceremony in NY and LA, The brand can also be found at specialty stores and some of the classic army/navy shops and of course most of it may be purchased on our website schottnyc.com Prices start at $ 150 and go up to a few thousand dollars for custom leather jackets, many pieces fall into the $300 – $600 price range.

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