As the Schott Perfecto motorcycle jacket closes in on its 85th anniversary, it remains an American icon. Chances are that it was introduced before you were born. Yet, the classic black leather motorcycle jacket is still going strong in modern-day America.
Here is the history of the Schott NYC Perfecto motorcycle jacket, its design and how it became an American icon.
Origins of the Schott NYC Perfecto Motorcycle Jacket
In 1928, Irving and Jack Schott created the first leather motorcycle jacket. It was sold at a Long Island Harley-Davidson distributor.
The Schott Perfecto motorcycle jacket derives part of it’s name from the original creators. “Perfecto” was the name of Irving Schott’s favorite brand of cigars. Hence, the brand “Schott Perfecto” was born.
This decade saw the introduction of the 613, also known as the “One Star.” This jacket featured a rectangular neck label, talon main and cuff zippers along with a miter belt buckle. The sleeves and passants were double-stitched and had a rounded end. Snaps were included to allow for a fur collar to be attached. These features and more helped shape this classic jacket.
The 618 version was introduced. It was identical to the 613 except that it had no stars.
Schott temporarily stopped producing the 613. After some design modifications, this jacket was re-introduced.
Design of the Schott Perfecto
The modern Schott NYC Perfecto 118 is made in the USA of 1.2 to 1.4mm thick leather cowhide. It has chrome pocket zippers with different pulls and a snap under the belt buckle that is designed to prevent it from damaging a motorcycle gas tank. It has a snug fit that is suitable for motorcycle riding.
Celebrities in Perfectos
The Perfecto has been worn by several modern celebrities, including:
- Johnny Depp wore a Schott NYC 618 Perfecto in the television show "21 Jump Street."
- Rhianna, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry have all been spotted wearing a Schott x Jeremy Scott Jacket featuring a black and white pattern inspired by the artwork of Keith Haring
Actor James Dean also frequently sported a Schott Perfecto.
Punk and Perfecto
Several legendary rockers have sported Perfecto jackets. These include members of the punk bands The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, as well as Blondie and Joan Jett.
Marlon Brando In "The Wild One"
Legendary actor Marlon Brando established the iconic status of the Schott Perfecto motorcycle jacket when he wore it in the film The Wild One. The jacket that Brando wore in the film was a model 618 Perfecto with stars added to the epaulettes to make it look like a model 613.
Schott Perfecto Trivia
- The 613 and 618 designs have been in production for over 50 years.
- The 613 was quickly nicknamed “One Star” because it had a star on each shoulder epaulette.
- Schott NYC still manufactures several styles of its Perfecto motorcycle jackets in the United States.
- Members of the third and fourth generations of the Schott family still own Schott NYC.
- Schott NYC was one of several contractors that manufactured wool peacoats for the U.S. Navy during World War II.
- In 2011, Schott NYC produced a special edition of their classic Perfecto motorcycle jacket made from check patterned Harris Tweed fabric rather than leather.