Schott, famous for its leather jackets ubiquitous among bikers, punksters, Hollywood and rock stars, has relocated its New York City store to 32 Howard Street in SoHo, after a decade at 236 Elizabeth Street in NoLIta.
“I always dreamed about having a store on a classic New York cobblestone street,” Jason Schott, chief operating officer and fourth generation family member of the 110-year-old brand, told WWD.
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“This is a landmarked building with a 15-foot ceiling. It was formerly occupied by the Putnam Rolling Ladder Co. I really fell in love with the space.” He considers it the Schott flagship. It’s located between Crosby Street and Broadway, next door to the Rick Owens shop. “There is so much activity and energy here,” said Schott of the neighborhood.
At 2,400 square feet, Schott’s SoHo store is 50 percent larger than the prior location. “Howard Street gives us an opportunity to showcase more of the brand and our lifestyle products,” said Schott. “We were very happy on Elizabeth Street but it turned into more of a destination for cosmetics. We really outgrew it.”
The official opening was Wednesday, yet there was an unplanned-for soft opening earlier in the week when passersby came in as preparations were still happening. “We were hanging things, getting things moved around, when someone opened the doors and all of a sudden we were in business,” said Schott. No one turned the early-bird shoppers away.
The Schott family put some restoration work into the site, pealing off layers of white paint and laying down a hand-sculpted hickory wood floor. “We used a lot of resources from our factory to get creative,” Schott noted. At the family’s factory, located in Union, N.J., where the Schott collection is produced, a 170-year-old couch was reupholstered in a patchwork of leathers used to make the Schott jackets, drop-light fixtures were constructed, and rolling carts were repurposed into tables.
The store carries Schott NYC’s classic jackets including its iconic Perfecto jacket, the first black leather motorcycle jacket designed by Irving Schott in 1928. The outerwear collection offers men’s and women’s leather, sheepskin and suede jackets as well as wool coats. Knitwear, sportswear, footwear and accessories are also sold. Complementing the offerings are other American-made brands such as Red Wing boots, Coronado leather accessories, Tellason denim, Shoppe 815 candles, Otterwax leather care goods and Hardworking Gentlemen men’s grooming products. The store also features a rotating gallery of art from local artists, which is for sale.
Schott’s leather jackets are priced $800 to $1,400. Cotton and wool sweaters are priced from $100 to $200; cotton woven shirts, $80 to $120, and footwear, around $300.
“Everyone knows us for our Perfecto motorcycle jacket, but we have more categories that we want to introduce to our customers,” Schott said. “I only wish my great-grandfather could see his legacy that we honor by making our jackets on his original machines.”
According to information from the family, Irving Schott peddled sheepskin-lined raincoats door-to-door from his original store and factory on East Broadway in Manhattan and was the first designer to use a zipper in a jacket. The family also says that their Perfecto jacket was worn by Marlon Brando, James Dean and The Ramones, as well as Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Slash. The brand continues to collaborate with Supreme, YSL, Aimé Leon Dore and Ralph Lauren.
Schott has only three stores in the U.S., including Howard Street. The other two are in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Outside the U.S., there are six licensed stores in Japan and six licensed stores in France.
Asked if additional stores are considered, Schott replied, “We are open to the idea and we have tested other areas, but there are no current plans. We are not a mall brand. We are an underground brand. We’d like to be a little less underground.”
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