When Irving Schott crafted the first motorcycle jacket, no one could predict its long term impact on the fashion industry and continued popularity among consumers. Today, you don't need a gang or a Harley-Davidson to wear black leather.
Whether cutting the costs by hand, negociating with the company's first "sales force" or dealing with suppliers, Irving's trademark was his cuban cigar, the "Perfecto". Much like Groucho Marx, Winston Churchill and Georges Burns, Irving's cigar became his personalized accessory.
The original motorcycle jacket was designed for Beck distributors, a Harley-Davidson distributor in Long Island, New York. It retailed for $5.50. Soon after, Irving Schott introduced a line of motorcycle jackets under the Perfecto® brand name. Since the early fifties, only the top-of-the-line Schott motorcycle jackets carry the Perfecto® label.
Schott motorcycle jackets were featured in the cult classic "The wild ones", starring Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin. The increased visibility of the jacket and its subsequent popularity actually resulted in decreased sales. The jackets were banned by many school systems around the country because they symbolised a burgeoning teen demographic, "the hood".
In 1955, when James Dean – the quintessential ‘’hood’’ and symbol of teenage rebellion –died in an automobile crash, sales skyrocketed. His tragic death catapulted the motorcycle jacket back into vogue and rejuvenated Schott sales.
Today, the Perfecto® continues to be the backbone of the Schott line for men and women which now feature more than 150 outerwear garments in an array of styles and leather skin from steer hide and goatskin to lambskin, and horsehide. This year, The Perfecto® is 90 years old and never looked so young !