Schott NYC is one of those brands where utility and pop iconography intersects. Founded in 1913 by brothers Irving and Jack Schott, it’s a fine example of where the pragmatic pioneering of one manufacturer has shaped the whole iconography of legends and lifestyles. One of the first manufacturers to create both leather motorcycle jackets and motorcycle jackets using zips, the Schott motorcycle jacket has become the symbol of successive subcultures and youth movements in the eight decades of its production. In one exemplary defining moment, Peter Fonda wore a Schott Café Racer motorcycle jacket in his role in ‘Easy Rider’ (1969).
No doubt the motorcycle jacket was achievement enough to assure the company a place in American pop cultural history. But its more directly patriotic endeavours during the Second World War –as on of the official contractors producing pea coats for the Navy- would also give it the kind of garment manufacture expertise that it could draw upon in a more contemporary context.
For the last two decades or so the company has smartly drawn on its credentials as a producer of practical utility wear to nudge itself ever further into the trendy street fashion market. It’s success at this has been notable in that time: one could not help spotting the distinctive logo on bomber jackets in the techno clubs of Berlin during their heyday or the jaunty cut of its double-breasted pea coats in trendy hangouts in London’s Soho.
In its most recent collaboration with New York’s legendary Barneys, Schott NYC has produced a range of exclusive jackets and pea coats. Most notable of these is the eye-catching pea coat that mixes panels of dark neutral colours and contrast plaids. With lumberjack plaid being everywhere this winter, there’s always the risk of ending up looking like someone who’s come to a fancy dress party as a Tom of Finland character or a lesbian trucker from 1978 caught in a time warp. In fact, the only way to get past the problem of bright red plaid, of looking like a man who doesn’t understand its butch drag connotations, is to take things in a decidedly foppish direction. Fortunately, the dashing multi-plaid pea coat from Schott NYC immediately solves that problem: you know plaid is tongue-in-cheek when it’s done with dandyism.
The coat is just one of the limited range designed by Schott NYC for Barney’s, though our spies tell us that those elsewhere in the world might be able to pick it up at select stockists.