Why did perfecto move from being a brand label to defining a jacket style

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by jonbuilder, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder One Too Many

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    How and why did Scott’s perfecto jacket label move from being a jacket brand to defining the common motorcycle jacket style with exposed asymmetrical front zipper, snap-down lapels, and classic three-pocket with flap coin pocket design shoulder epaulets bi-swing back panel belted front with a square belt buckle. The first perfecto jacket had a belted front, D-pocket, flap coin pocket, zippered sleeve cuffs, and shoulder epaulets.
    I believe it was the move Wild One that defined the style often referred to as a perfecto jacket.

    Also, I have read on the internet that Scott’s perfecto was the first motorcycle jacket. Anyone had ideas on how Scott is credited with the first motorcycle jacket. Were they the first to come up with the cross zip front?
     
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  2. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    They definitely didn't come up with the cross-zip (or at least, lancer front) as far as I'm aware. Cross zips went back to at least the 1920s, same time or earlier than 1928 and were commonly referred to as "aviator" and sometimes "motorcycle" jackets. This was more common in the 30s-really will have to see if this was a 20s thing. Usually some form of outdoor-adventure activity. They were the early ancestors of the Schott design, which seemed to take on the characteristics of a pure moto jacket. However, Schott's Perfecto (named after Irving Schott's favorite cigar size, funny to think of a Schott Churchill or Schott Torpedo...) became kind of the quintissential design later. I feel the history is somewhat ambiguous. Correct me if I'm wrong.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  3. Guppy

    Guppy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I don't know why. But my guess is that the general public doesn't know the cross zip as a "Perfecto". They call them "Biker jackets" and can barely tell one from another. If you get them to look closely they may notice a D-pocket looks different from the more modern slanted chest pocket. They probably won't even notice details like belts and epaulets and coin pockets being there or not unless you point it out to them. To the average person, a Biker jacket is a Biker jacket.

    Maybe 10% is aware of different makers and brands, and knows anything about the history of Schott. They are surprised to learn that the style dates back to 1928, and associate it with the 1950s greaser subculture, or 60s Rockers if they're British.

    Among people like us, we can say what the Perfecto pattern is, and that there are a lot of other variations on the cross-zip motorcycle style, and that Perfecto is a slice of that pie, but there's a lot of variation - - California Highway Patrol, Vanson model E, Buco J-2X, etc. I guess they all have a common ancestor in the 1928 Perfecto, but really Perfecto is a specific subset of patterns within a genre.
     
  4. Monitor

    Monitor

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    The history of this classic motorcycle jacket is so blurry and tainted with marketing spins that it's impossible to uncover the truth and it's best to not even speculate at this point. I'd say that the most important thing about Schott and their jacket is simply that they have survived and like Levi's, they were here all this time. Especially when the punk rock movement picked up, with everyone important wearing the jacket at one point or another. The rest is history. I could be wrong but I don't believe any other company that was originally making this style of jacket survived till today.

    The Wild One
    definitely had a major impact on the style, like possibly being the sole reason for the jacket becoming so iconic.

    Aside from making a genuinely good product, the best thing Schott did was advertise the jacket the right way while keeping their story straight, even if it's just a story.

    As for the claim that Schott made the first cross zip jacket... I doubt it. They also claim they were the first one to use a zipper on a leather jacket which is also something I find suspicious. Same as their claims to have made Brando's jacket, which they haven't of course. On the other hand, if you Google "motorcycle jacket history", all you'll get is one article after the other about how Schott invented the jacket.

    But anyway, to answer your question; marketing and pop culture. :)
     
  5. Carlos840

    Carlos840 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    The Schott way is "If you repeat something often enough it becomes truth"...
    They stole the jacket in the wild one, they tried to do the same thing to the jacket James Dean wore, they like to take credit for things that where not always from them.

    If they invented the first Motorcycle jacket in 1928, what do they think the Lewis Universal Racer Mk1 was for?
    Pretty sure it was a motrocycle jacket, and it came out in 1926... Why is LL not credited for inventing the MC jacket then?

    https://www.lewisleathers.com/productinfo.html?code=UVR1-jak
     
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  6. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    Now I'm curious if indeed Schott, in 1928, came up with the first "zippered" cross zip jacket. Doubtful, but I'll have a look when time permits. I checked the vintageleatherjacket blogspot; it looks like those early "aviator" jackets I was thinking about were more distinctly 30s.

    What I'm certain about is that those catalogued gents are about the best dressed folks I've ever seen. That's my favorite style. But take off the jacket and it loses its cool pretty quickly. ;)
     
  7. Monitor

    Monitor

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    Provided they indeed acquired Durable, I wouldn't say they stole the jacket per se. Their claim to have made the jacket for the movie has some merit in that case, even if they again never reproduced the exact same version.

    Schott zippered D-pocket is possibly the first such jacket to hit the market, too, which was a good few years before Buco came up with the J so... But the fact remains that they do indeed have a long and serious history as a maker, even if the admit they've bs'd about the Dean and Brando jacket. Still plenty of other really wonderful stories to build upon.

    LL has a very honest approach which is what I love about them, even though they might've just as well knocked off other makers back in the days for most of their major designs, such as Rivetts or Mascot or Highwayman, etc. They are a great company that strictly 100% believes in their product which has always been top notch.
     
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  8. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

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    Interesting reads. I’ll keep it simple— if a cross-zip has a coin pocket, I think of it as a Perfecto/perfecto-style. CHP/LAPDs are it’s own subset, D-pockets as well, and so on.
     
  9. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead A-List Customer

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    I remember hearing, (but like Carlos said, who knows if it's true or what they put out there), that they were the first company to put zippers on jackets. So that's interesting if the history goes back to the 1920s, not sure how verified that can be.

    Going back to the original question though about Perfecto being on the label. All the Schott jackets don't carry the Perfecto label, so I too am curious. I had a p571 for a short while and it's a cafe racer, not the cross zip. And there's no way that jacket was meant to be rider friendly. Was so tight in the shoulders and all that. So not sure why some carry it and others don't. It was also a different leather than the usual 100 series or HH series you usually see the Perfecto tag on.
     
  10. Carlos840

    Carlos840 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I disagree.
    Michael Jackson bought the rights to all the Beatles songs, doesn't mean we now say MJ wrote them.
    To me what they are doing is the same thing as if Robert Trujilo started taking credit for the first four Metallica albums.
    Buying a company doesn't mean you can take credit for what they did before you bought it IMO.

    I am not saying they never did anything for the leather jacket world, they clearly did. But IMO there are enough examples of Schott trying to be cheeky and take credit for things they didn't do that we need to take what they say with a grain of salt.

    Maybe they invented the first Zippered D-pocket in 1928, but the UR Mk1 was already two years old, proving they didn't invent the first MC jacket. ( i am not implying the Mk1 is the first MC jacket, just that it was made before 1928)
    Maybe they indeed are the first to put a zipper on a jacket (the zippered UR Mk2 only came out in early 30s), but the fact that they try to blend "first zippered jacket" and "first MC jacket" into one is IMO not accurate.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  11. Monitor

    Monitor

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    Absolutely agreed but the thing is, Schott already had their own classic coin pocket & belt cross zip before purchasing Durable, which, if I am not mistaken, was closer looking to the one they're making today. Provided they even bought out Durable!

    On second though, this may be complete bs as well and there's actually no proof there's any connection between Schott and Durable. If anything, Gail says...

    "I can confirm though for you that Schott did not purchase another company, our complete history of our company from 1913 is in our book and there is no mention of this company being bought by Schott. If you or anyone else can provide more information on this jacket please add to this post as I would like to know it's history too."

    I don't even know why I keep repeating that Schott bought Durable! I just heard it online and had accepted it as a fact and it may not be true at all. If anything, if Gail says there's no record of it ever happening, there's like zero doubt that the Japanese guy is the one making stuff up.
     
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  12. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    Some brand names stick for right or wrong - to Hoover the carpet or write with a Biro in Australia (and elsewhere) now refers to a generic tool, but used to refer to a brand.

    Schott marketing is pretty clumsy and inaccurate and makes several claims that seem refutable. For this reason, the jacket nerd will probably always have some antipathy towards the company. The average person, who wants a solid jacket and doesn't do detail, will not give a rats.
     
  13. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    Thanks for posting this. If anyone at Schott knows about this, it probably would have been Gail, RIP. I too, thought Schott had bought out Durable, thus their dubious claim to having made Brando's jacket in The Wild One.

    As I remember, it was pretty much established in another thread that the Brando Jacket was a Durable.

    @jonbuilder I am going to edit your thread title to "brand" rather "band." I think that was what you intended to say, but a typo got in the way.
     
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  14. Monitor

    Monitor

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    I found two threads with people asking Gail about the Durable and she doesn't have a clue what they're talking about. I mean, there's absolutely no reason for Schott to keep this information a secret and if Gail actually went as far as to check the company records and found no trace of Schott ever acquiring Durable... That pretty much clears things up.

    So now we know Schott has absolutely no connection to Brando's jacket.
     
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  15. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder One Too Many

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    "So now we know Schott has absolutely no connection to Brando's jacket."
    Other than Schott was making a similar style jacket at the time the movie was released along with other jacket makers
     
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  16. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    It's kind of funny to me because it is The Wild One which gives the jacket its particular allure. Not merely jacket by itself. Had it been an actual Schott the reaction would have been the same.
     
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  17. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

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    Exactly. It was Brando, it was the movie, it was the time it was released that have made that jacket stand the test of time. Like yeah its a badass jacket and theres a reason "Perfecto" styles are still made collected. Dont get me wrong on that. But it could have been Durable, Schott, Langlitz, Buco, Cal...could have been anyone really. It was the the timeless design and then everything else about the film and time period. Imagine if Brando was wearing a CHP or Cafe....also timeless great designs..but I imagine it wouldnt change anything, it would be the same reaction and obsession. I also wonder if besides Schott making claims they cant prove, and we are 99.999% sure is just straight false.....if theres someway Schott can prove they in fact "invented" the Perfecto design...which of any of their claims is probably actually the closest to true. Then a ton of companies copied them, including Durable...they didnt have to make the jacket to get love and respect out of the deal. All they had/have to say is hey we invented this particular design and everyones copying us. if you want authentic then you buy from us. Theres a reason were still making them and they are still popular. That would work! Instead they went with the claim they made it.
     
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  18. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    This is a good post with an excellent analysis. I never thought of the issue in this light.
     
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  19. Harris HTM

    Harris HTM One Too Many

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    well, their first four are the only ones worth mentioning.
     
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  20. Carlos840

    Carlos840 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Personally i have never seen a jacket with a Schott label that has all the Perfecto features (three pockets, coin pocket, front belt, epaulettes) as well as the long sleeve zippers on the front panel of the sleeve.

    [​IMG]

    If they did make the wild one jacket why are there no other example of that jacket anywhere?
    It's the most famous leather jacket in the world yet we can't find one, it doesn't make any sens!
    IMO if they had made it we would see some in the wild, just like we see Durable jackets with the correct features.
     

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