I have a story to tell you. In the last few years I became fascinated with companies that have been around 100+ years. When thinking of Asilda Store back when there was not even a single product or web store, I knew I wanted to make something as long lasting. Only select few businesses survive for this long.
For me, 20 years already sounds like a super long time. I just finished reading a book on Amazon and with 25 years of brand growth it sounds like they all had 10 lives by now. Every day is packed with new decisions, issues to face, ups and downs.
I think the biggest challenge of being in business for so long is choosing the right direction for growth and maintaining some of your core values, principles, and processes that bring success. Here are a few clothing and shoes brands that have been around for 80+ years:
Barbour est. 1894
Filson est. 1897
Chippewa Boots est. 1901
Red Wing Boots est. 1905
Schott NYC est. 1913
Danner Boots est. 1932
I have purchased from each of these companies in the last year. The goal was to get something I can wear for decades and that will only get better with time. An interesting company on this list is Schott NYC and I’d love to share their history and how I outfitted one of their jackets with patches.
Schott NYC was founded by sons of a Russian immigrant in 1913. It’s not easy to build a business in another country. I’m doing it right now and the struggle is real. By 1915, two years after launch (exactly where I am right now), Schott brothers decided to expand the product line and introduced leather jackets under brand Perfecto. I wish to make my American dream come true.
Motorcycle jackets by Schott became the key accessory for any biker. They were the cool factor, the rebel and adventure spirit showcase. Making Bomber jackets for the US Army during WWII, and later outfitting Marlon Brando for the iconic movie The Wild Ones, Schott secured its place among the select few brands that can stand up to the test of time and still look cooler than ever.
My story with Schott began last February, when I was wearing some similar jacket that turned out to be a cheaper knockoff from the original. I was at a trade show for apparel brands, mostly just trying to understand how things work in the industry, when everyone around me kept asking, “Is this Schott?” I had no idea what they’re saying. I proudly kept saying “No, this is ______.” I'll save myself from embarassment with this blank space.
The next day it finally got to me and I went to the Schott booth at the same trade show and started looking around. It’s still a family owned and operated business, which in recent years with this whole interest in vintage and American-made clothing is seeing some of the best years of sales and buyer interest.
$650 for a jacket is no small sum, but after 4 months of internal agony I went to the store in Glendale and purchased the softest, most awesome leather jacket I’ve ever seen or worn. I got myself 218W Perfecto Lambskin jacket and this was the first time I had no regret of spending so much on one piece of clothing.
I was planning a shoot to show how to apply patches on different materials: canvas, nylon, leather, and other textiles and it was time to get some patches on my Schott jacket. I can say it’s a bit scary, you’re literally doing something that can’t be undone. But I was so excited from the result that we went to Joshua Tree a few months later to shoot these awesome images.
I ride a 1976 Honda CB400T. It’s a very cool cafe racer motorcycle that’s fun to ride and it’s not powerful enough to do you much harm if you’re not a super experienced rider. This is my first bike and so I wanted to do this moto themed shoot to show the other side of me, something beyond cameras and outdoors.
Schott NYC jackets are a true American legend. I’m inspired by how forward thinking and timeless Perfecto jackets are. I wanted to make something similar for Asilda Store - something that’s not fast fashion and following the trend of the day. That’s why all designs are taking months to perfect and produce. They’re meant to be around for many years to come.
I don’t like overdoing it with patch placement on jackets. This Perfecto only has three patches, all on sleeves:
Streets Are My Fuel - I think this phrase combines how I feel about street photography and motorcycle world together. Everything started for me from a trip to NYC in 2014 and I got that initial sparkle and drive there. That’s how the photo blog and this store came about. This patch also glows in the dark.
Style Is Personal - this design is inspired by the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR in short) and where every rider dresses dapper for a day. To this day I think this design is awesome and expresses the idea that you can dress as you wish. I can frequently being called a “hipster” because of these vintage looking 100+ brands I like to wear. So what, style is personal.
Have a Voice - this patch looks perfect on leather and I wanted to keep it minimal with just one patch on that sleeve. The phrase is meant to rethink how much of your daily life is spent on autopilot and how much you’re actually trying to make an impact, beyond liking images on social media.
The jacket now looks absolutely personalized and I will leave it with no pins or any additional elements. It’s got a bit of me now and a bit of Schott bother legacy. That’s exactly how I’d like to keep it.
If you want to learn more about Schott jackets, head to their website: www.schottnyc.com