How a small, family-owned company in New Jersey invented the leather jacket

Schott leather 1640Sarah JacobsA jacket at Schott’s Union, New Jersey, factory.

Schott Bros. NYC is more than just a jacket-making company. It’s a legacy — one that’s been manufacturing jackets worn by some of the coolest people of the last century. The company, which was started in 1913 by Irving Schott on New York City’s Lower East Side, invented the motorcycle jacket in 1928, and it’s been hand-sewing the jackets in the same way ever since.

Everyone from Marlon Brando and James Dean to the Ramones and Bruce Springsteen have donned Schott’s Perfecto jacket, or a slight modification of it. The company also manufactures other apparel, including peacoats, shirts, and shoes for men and women.

Schott gave us a peek into their factory in Union, New Jersey, to see how they’ve been able to do it for more than 100 years.

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