Anatomy of a Schott Perfecto

Not unlike Nordstrom, Schott NYC has been around—and has remained family-operated—for over 100 years.

Through the decades, founder Irving Schott evolved a Lower-East-Side basement operation with his brother into an international success—securing contracts with Harley Davidson and the US Military along the way. He invented the ‘Perfecto’ leather motorcycle jacket as well as the bomber jacket, among countless other innovations. And his family continues to set trends rather than follow them, all thanks to staying true to a standard of quality, integrity, and self-determination.

Four generations later, the good people at Schott NYC shared with us a few of the details that set a ‘Perfecto’ leather jacket apart from the pack—as much now as in 1928, when Irving Schott named the creation after his favorite Cuban cigar. Keep reading to learn more.

Notes from Schott NYC Headquarters: “Irving Schott was always eager to innovate; in the early 1920s, he was the first designer to use a zipper in a piece of outerwear. Previously, all jackets closed with buttons because zippers were not widely available at the time.

“In 1928, Irving Schott designed and produced the first leather motorcycle jacket. Retailing for $5.50 at a Long Island Harley-Davidson distributor, the Perfecto was durable, rugged, and immediately embraced. The asymmetrical-zipped, black-leather motorcycle jacket remains virtually the same to this day, and 85 years later is still preferred by bikers for its technical riding details. Some innovations designed specifically for motorcycle riding include:

1. Zippered front pockets to hold items securely and a coin pocket for change.
2. Shoulder epaulets to hold a rider’s gloves.
3. Attached belt to tighten the jacket and prevent wind from blowing inside.
4. Lapels that snap down to prevent them from flapping in the wind.
5. Bi-swing expanding back to allow a rider to keep his or her arms outstretched while holding the handles of a motorcycle, but fold back in while standing
6. And of course, a heavy-duty leather shell to protect the rider’s skin in case of a fall.”

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Find an authentic re-creation of an archival Schott ‘Perfecto’ leather moto jacket
in our new, menswear-only Pop-In @ Nordstrom.



Pop-In @ Nordstrom is an ongoing series of themed pop-up shops curated by Olivia Kim. A unique experience awaits you online and at selected stores. Our current Pop-In, Heartbreakers Club, is the first to focus exclusively on menswear.

[Intro photo by Robin Stein. Still-life photo is a archival jacket courtesy of Schott NYC.]

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