There was a time not too long ago when if you wanted to go shopping in New York City, all you needed to know was Madison, Soho, or Fifth. Over the past year or so though, as this city’s clothing compulsion has grown into an everlasting rolling boil, these once sharply defined boundaries have become obsolete, transforming Manhattan (for better or for worse) into a veritable urban mall.
Check that mall’s map and you’ll notice that Elizabeth Street in Nolita is now stacked with upstarts and standbys including Alex Mill, Steven Alan and the new Todd Snyder City Gym, among others, forming one of the most respectable blocks in the New York retail scene. Of all the openings on Elizabeth over the past year, few have been more fitting than Schott, one of New York City’s most legendary labels.
The Elizabeth Street store is a homecoming of sorts for Schott, bringing the brand back to its downtown roots, just a stones throw from their original East Broadway headquarters. It was there that brothers Irving and Jack Schott first crafted their eponymous coats back in 1913, and in the hundred years since, Schott has become the preeminent name in American leather jackets. Along the way, the brand has become a vital part of American style as we know it, gracing the backs of icons like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Peter Fonda, The Ramones, and Keith Haring, just to name a few.
It’s with this heritage in mind that Schott returns to the city (not too far from their Union, New Jersey factory where most of their jackets are still produced today) in a sizable space that not only showcases the brand’s considerable collection, but also their legacy as one of the last bastions of this country’s rich garment history.
Alongside the rows of Perfecto moto jackets, burnt umber bombers, and naval pea coats you’ll find items from the brand’s past. Vintage jackets as worn as old baseball mitts lie on salvaged tables, the back brick wall is adorned with an all leather American flag, and the shops esoteric ephemera commemorates Schott’s association with some of the best dressed men of all time.
For a brand that began with two brothers hawking five-dollar raincoats up and down the Lower East Side, the Elizabeth Street shop not only shows how far Schott has come, but also where they want to go from here. If only Irving and Jack could see their brand now. –JG