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I recently had the distinct pleasure of stopping by the Schott NYC factory for a tour. It was on a Saturday, so the factory itself wasn’t in action. Nevertheless, the place absolutely hummed with energy. Lots of things midway through production, massive amounts of equipment, and a general feeling of “this is where good things get done” pervaded the place. It was a rare, fantastic thing to get to experience, and my most sincere thanks go out to all the folks at Schott for it.

To give a little bit of context: the series starts with a couple shots of the factory from near the main entrance. From there, it’s through the storage area for all the hides and and a good portion of the raw materials, then on to the production floor. I was moving from back to front, which is (not coincidentally) pretty much how Schott’s wares themselves move through the production process. Hides are cut by hand in the far corner, and final steps like topstitching and affixing rivets happen at the very front. The result is some of the best American-made outerwear you can do yourself the favor of picking up.

I’ve got a few shots here, and a slideshow of nearly 100 shots below. For the full experience, just take a leap over to Flickr and watch in glorious full screen mode (where you can see, in detail, the limitations of my photography skills).

For measuring hides

This guy makes fringe

The shearling machine

And the shearling

For cutting hides

Since everything starts inside out, this spike is used to get hard to reach areas like corners right side out for the final touches

And how do they keep it all in order, you wonder? With this powerhouse machine right here

Again, thanks to all the fine people at Schott for letting me come out and grab some shots of the home of a great American brand.

—Jonathan

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For all of you in the NY/NJ area (or further afield depending on your tolerance for early morning travel): the Schott annual factory sale is going down tomorrow morning (12/4), and it’s a great opportunity to get your hands on some of their US-made gear for a song.¬† In terms of the offerings, look out for Schott’s usual suspects: Sweaters, wool & down jackets, and of course a whole bunch of leathers.

Officially it runs from 8am to 12 noon, but people start lining up at 6 in the morning and the doors have been known to open up earlier than the official start time. So yeah: it all happens really damn early. But despite my knee-jerk opposition to getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a ride to Elizabeth on NJ Transit, I’m planning on being there.

Why? Well for one I’m loathe to give up the opportunity to spend time at the factory of a beloved and iconic American brand. And then there’s the deals. Big fat ones. Like a room with everything under $50, samples at discount, and some of the current collection at 10-50% off.

But perhaps more than anything, I want to bear personal witness to this once-a-year madness. It sounds like it’ll be–at the very least–really entertaining.

So, yeah: Tomorrow, at some ungodly hour, I will haul myself out of bed and trek down to the Schott factory. And, despite the fact that I’ll probably be nursing a hangover and desperately downing more coffee than any human being should, I’ll be happy to do it.

If you’re in the market for anything Schott, I suggest you drag your weary ass down there as well.

—Jonathan

Directions:

Take the 112 NJ Transit bus from Port Authority to North Avenue at Madison Avenue in Elizabeth. Walk 2 blocks North (passing the park), then 1 block West to 1000 Jefferson Avenue, Elizabeth, NJ (the factory address).

Please don’t take these as gospel. Check around for the best route for you and be sure to confirm before you head out. The last thing I want is for someone to get lost because I made a mistake. Be safe!—

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Closer to the beginning of this month I had the pleasure of attending a party at Epaulet on Orchard, the Brooklyn shop’s pop-up collaboration with Reed Space on the Lower East Side. Thrown along with Gitman Vintage, the evening was replete with incredible shirting, ice cold Modelo, and good people. I even got a quick history lesson on Gitman from the company’s own Chris Olberding. A grand ol’ time, indeed.

That’s Mike, co-proprietor of Epaulet, near the center of the frame…

And that would be co-proprietor Adele dutifully manning the register…

A Gitman Vintage table at the center of the space gave some insight into the Pennsylvania-based company’s heritage…

Exclusive Gitman Vintage for Epaulet shirts…

This club collar shape is taken from the archives and hasn’t been altered in the slightest. Impressively timeless silhouette…

The double tracked stitching on their button-down collars was Gitman’s way of providing a clear differentiating factor from the competing Brooks Brothers (single track) during the company’s earlier days. Now it’s a standard element…

The pop-up is nearing the end of its lifetime, and will shut its doors after October has run its course. Consider this, then, a last call for all you New York readers. Take advantage of this final weekend to stop by and check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

Epaulet on Orchard is located at 151 Orchard Street, between Stanton and Rivington.

—Jonathan

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Schott 654 Casual Cowhide Racer, Lewis Leathers for Garbstore Flying Dominator

A black moto and a brown bomber. Pretty much set for life on the leather jacket front.

Look out for a more detailed treatment of each one in the near future. Seems only appropriate now that the autumn chill has really started to roll in…

—Jonathan

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If you’re looking for a solid example of enduring and well-executed rock and roll style, look no further than Bruce Springsteen in the late 70′s.

The man was killing it left and right on the sartorial front. All the attitude to pull off a Perfecto without looking foolish (not the easiest feat), but he could also tone it down a bit and still look damn good in more understated jacket or just a dark shirt/jeans combo. He was just so effortlessly cool that it all worked perfectly.

I hear he put out a couple of decent records or something, too…

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For the curious: It looks like the Boss is rocking a Schott in a lot of these looks. Seems that the 613 One Star Perfecto was one of his standby pieces.

Would that I were able to wear one so well. But then, I suppose I’m OK with just flat out admitting that Bruce Springsteen is much cooler than. It’s clearly 100% true.

—Jonathan

(Images courtesy of GQ)

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Updated One-Star Perfectos and a vintaged horsehide Cafe Racer. Mmmmmm….

Schott NYC absolutely nailed it with the new Perfecto by Schott line that showed this past Monday/Tuesday at (capsule) NY.

Designed by Greg Chapman (who, aside from being talented as hell, is a genuinely nice guy) the line draws on Schott NYC’s venerable heritage with updated takes on classic pieces. Lines are slimmed down, fabrics and leathers are played with a bit, and it all comes together into a collection that certainly vies for my personal “best in show” award for (capsule) NY as a whole.

Among the collection you’ll find takes on a number of leather jacket styles, including the double riders jacket (made famous by the original Perfecto), the A2 bomber, and the racer jacket in both cafe and spread-collar. In terms of materials, you’ve got a bunch of options: Horsehide, cowhide, a goddamn beautiful suede (it’s soft as hell, but heavy and sturdy at the same time), waxcloth, and heavy twill.

There’s also a good deal of variety when it comes to vintage effects on the leather. I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m generally weary of this practice, but if you take a look at that black/brown marbling effect on a couple of the jackets below, I think you’ll come to the same conclusion I did. In this instance, it works.

The waxcloth on this jacket is light and pliable, but still very clearly durable. A perfect jacket for spring weather… Perfecto in a lightweight cowhide. I could see this becoming a standby in my own collection…


The marbled black/brown vintaging I mentioned earlier. Clearly, I was fascinated with this…

Talon zips on some of the models. Old skool for the win…

There’s that fantastic suede…

I think the far right is actually a ladies’ model. Very cool…

There’s also a very strong portion of the collection that draws on the other end of Schott’s expertise, with mountain parkas, pea coats and toggle coats. These pieces are done in deadstock nylon/poplin from the company’s storerooms, selvage raw denim from Cone Mills White Oak, and some impressively sturdy cotton duck in a few different colors (eye-searing orange among them).

Also: I really dig the linings they used in this collection in general. Tartan, gingham, and plaid galore. Icing on the cake.

Actually not sure if this was just a fabric sample for linings or if they’re offering a scarf, and neglected to ask. If it’s just a sample, I humbly suggest they offer a scarf. If it’s a scarf, I want one…

Cone Mills White Oak. Quality, American-made fabrics…

Geeked out on the selvage detailing. I’m glad they had the good sense to keep it subtle…

I didn’t think I’d like this when I first saw preview shots last week. I was oh so wrong. I want one for myself. Like, yesterday…

Many of the components like the toggles here were actually sourced from deadstock within Schott’s factory in Elizabeth, NJ…

The line arrives for real in Spring 2011. Prices will land between $400 and $1,000. When you’re talking about the top end of that range representing the cost of an American-made horsehide jacket, it’s really damn reasonable bang for your buck.

Start saving them ducats, kids. If you’re anything like me, you’re gonna want more than one of these pieces.

—Jonathan

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Schott NYC is coming out with a new line called Perfecto by Schott NYC for Spring 2011. It’s basically a younger, more style-conscious take on some of the company’s greatest hits, and I’ve got to admit I’m pretty damn excited.

There are four jackets in the debut collection (Update) There are a whole bunch of pieces in the new collection, but of the four that Selectism previewed, the waxwear take on the classic Perfecto jacket is the one that really caught my eye. At 26″ long, it’s a bit longer than the traditionally cropped riding jacket, which gives it a more casual vibe that’s easier to wear as a day-to-day jacket. The waxwear, combined with a plaid cotton twill lining, makes for a solid jacket for the Spring and Fall, when it’s not brutally cold. I’m sure the fabric will wear beautifully, too.

Take a look over at Selectism for the full rundown. For now, just a few more pictures to whet your appetite:

The collection will be officially unveiled at (capsule) NYC on July, 19. Many thanks to Selectism for dropping these previews on us early.

—Jonathan

(Images courtesy of Selectism)

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My dad got this vintage Schott NYC Perfecto at a garage sale in New Jersey just about two weeks ago (for free no less!). He told me about it at the time, but I’ve been waiting for a visit to Philly to see the family so I could get some shots of it . The story behind the jacket is pretty much a big ol’ question mark, but from a little bit of research based on the label and the fact that the main zipper is by Talon, I think it’s from the mid-late 70s. Definitely well worn, as you can see on the leather itself.

Despite a couple of small damaged areas that should be easy repairs, it’s in very good working order. All in all, a damn fine find for a random afternoon wandering the Garden State.

Forgive the lack of a proper shoot for this piece. As it turns out, my parents’ place doesn’t really have a great staging area. There’s also my solid “novice” ranking when it comes to photography.

Nevertheless, check it out:


—Jonathan

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One of the many cool things about Schott NYC is the fact that they’re quite willing to give the public a genuine look into their manufacturing process. Every time I put on my 654, I can picture where it was made, who made it, and how. All clothing (even new stuff) has a history before it even reaches the consumer’s hands, and I’m glad that Schott gives us a glimpse into their story.

Vintage leather measuring machine

The raw materials (in bulk)

More leather, but growing closer to becoming the finished product

Final leather prep and inspection before going into production

More leather prep and inspection. Sheepskin this time…

Cutting linings

Adding interior labels

Adding belts to jackets

Rehabilitating a vintage D-Pocket Perfecto

Ready for final inspection and prep

And finally, ready to ship out

The pictures show the progression of a leather jacket from beginning to end (pretty much), and all the steps and people it takes to get there. Illuminating stuff.

Many thanks to Schott for putting these photos out there.

—Jonathan

(Images courtesy of Schott NYC)

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Just a one pic post for this morning, but it brightened my mood on this dreary freaking day.

From Schott NYC’s Facebook profile:

“Heritage Perfecto’s rolling off the line for inspection and prep before heading to Barneys”

Love seeing racks and racks of nice leathers. I also get a kick out of the fact that a couple of the epaulets are snapped down, while the rest are just hanging out unsnapped.

More to come today. Just a “good morning” for my readers.

—Jonathan

(Image courtesy of Schott NYC)

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