WRITER Matthew Klassen
To mark Schott’s 100th anniversary in 2013, vintage and men’s heritage clothing giant, Rin Tanaka, produced a literal print museum of garments made by the company throughout its history. Schott NYC: 100 Years of an American Original gathers together photographs of stunning, weathered examples of the brand’s staple offering, the Perfecto, as well as other leather jackets rich with patina – military and civilian alike, assembled from the closets of various collectors. Some of the highlights Tanaka has rounded up for the book include a matching set of riding gauntlets and jacket from 1946, complete with the original Schott box; a black horsehide Perfecto jacket with mahogany horsehide trimmings circa 1940-41 from Larry McKaughan’s collection; and even one of Johnny Ramone’s jackets from the early ’80s – the latter two being shot from multiple angles showing incredible detail.
Throughout the publication there are numerous photos depicting owners of Schott jackets wearing what, at the time, would have been something that was going to last their whole lives. My favourite images in the book are stacked on top of each other, acting as historical representations of New Yorkers in their leather coats. One shows children at play in Schott jackets, with mouton fur lining their collars, and above that is a newsstand owner from the Lower East Side, a watch cap on top of his head and a cigar firmly clamped between his teeth. Perhaps the smoke is even of the Cuban variety that Perfecto was named after by stogie loving founder, Irving.