Marlon Brando wore one in “The Wild One.” Peter Fonda wore one with an American flag sewn on the back in “Easy Rider.” And not so long ago the show “Happy Days” had The Fonz. All sporting a leather motorcycle jacket. Leather motorcycle jackets have been the epitome of cool since they were introduced in 1928. In 1913, two new Yorkers Irving and Jack Schott started an apparel company in East Manhattan. They manufactured leather coats, selling them around New York.
Birth of a Legend
In 1928, they created a certain style of leather motorcycle jacket that they named Perfecto, after the size and shape of one brother’s favorite cigar. The front closure was made just a little off center, allowing more comfort for the rider while leaning into the bike.
The Schott’s sold them through a Harley Davidson distributor over on Long Island. Each Perfecto Motorcycle Jacket sold for $5.50.
Up until then, buttons were the norm for front closure. The Perfecto had a zipper where the buttons would be. And except for a few very minor changes, the leather motorcycle jacket has remained the same for the past 90 years.
“Other Leather Jackets”
Just a mention of other leather jackets that existed before the perfecto. In World War I the pilots needed good sturdy leather jackets to keep warm at high altitudes. In 1927, the leather “bomber jacket” as it came to be known, was introduced to pilots in the Armed Forces. These early jackets had button fronts which later were changed to zippers in 1931.
Motorcycles in the Movies
The Schott’s continued producing the Perfecto motorcycle jacket, although it was welcomed only by a limited audience. With the introduction of biker movies with the likes of Marlon Brando and later Peter Fonda sporting leather motorcycle jackets, the wearing of this stylish phenomenon rose in popularity along with the sales of leather motorcycle jackets.
All Kinds of Styles
Now, years later, Schott’s Perfecto is no longer the only name in the motorcycle world, although they do still manufacture them in the old factory in Manhattan. They still produce the original Perfecto, but it costs a bit more than the $5.50 of 1928! It is $660 now!
As we are talking about the Motorcycle Jacket, not just the leather ones, let’s not forget the other types of jacket. For instance, motorcycle racing began back in 1906. Men motorcycle leather racing jackets became popular in the 1950’s and 60’s and they have grown and evolved over the years.
Motorcycle jackets, like the selection at WICKED STOCK are available in leather, textile and mesh. They have CE rated armor inserted at key positions to protect the elbows, knees, and back. There are also versions made with mesh panels included for comfort in the warmer weather. If you need one, go and buy one leather racing jackets for men online.
From A Basement in Manhattan to the World
So, from a basement factory on the lower east side of Manhattan, to the pages of WICKED STOCK, the motorcycle jacket has become a veritable staple in the lives of motorcyclists all around the world.
Whether you’re racing your motorcycle on the track, making cross country trips, commuting back and forth to work or just cruising around the countryside while the wind rushes past your face, you can be rest assured that your trusty motorcycle jacket is not only protecting you. It’s also making you look good while maybe enjoying a little bit of history.
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