John and Paul Thornley are brothers by circumstance and bandmates by choice. Often on the road with their band — U.S. Royalty — they do a lot of exploring in their down time. Both have a keen eye for all things manly and fashionable, but sometimes, they see things pretty differently.
Paul and I were up in New York City for CMJ, and in between playing some gigs were able to go on an adventure. Schott, a brand synonymous with America and the open road, contacted us about a month ago to check out their jackets and asked if we would like a tour. Of course we obliged.
Schott has been making jackets and crafting style for over 90 years. From the first double rider motorcycle jacket in 1928 to bomber jackets for the Air Force during WWII, icons like Marlon Brando, James Dean, and The Ramones have been spotted wearing these classic, quality pieces. After visiting their NYC showroom, we traveled across the river to New Jersey where they manufacture the jackets.
We chatted with Jason Schott (great-grandson of founder Irving Schott), and found there remains an underlying sense of staying true to quality and tradition while still being open to collaborations and pushing modern trends. While they still use the machinery from decades long gone to put out the same quality products, they are actively searching for new ways to bring their classic look into new circles. We also enjoyed seeing jackets that they have collected from previous owners. Many of them have been painted on, while others are embellished with a number of studs or patches, and some have just been worn for 60 odd years.
Vintage Beck Jacket by Schott
After perusing the aisles of the factory, Paul came across a brown fringe coat that reminded him of one that our drummer Luke purchased from a secondhand shop. Later, we were about to play a show in DC at the Velvet Lounge and he happened to look at the label. Sure enough — it read Schott Brothers.
I guess Schott was in our lives before we even knew it. And we hope they will be for a long time to come.