By  on September 30, 2009

Leather outerwear maker Schott NYC is launching a men’s sportswear collection for spring, including woven shirts, denim jeans, T-shirts and light outerwear. The company will showcase the line as part of the Fashion in Detroit events Thursday and Friday.

The new line represents the first time Schott — known for its iconic Perfecto motorcycle jacket made famous by Marlon Brando and James Dean — has made a concerted push into men’s sportswear since the mid-Nineties. “The sportswear is a natural extension of the leather jackets: casual, easy to wear and durable,” said Jason Schott, chief operating officer of Schott NYC, which rings up total retail sales globally of more than $100 million. The brand is sold in about 1,000 doors, including Army-Navy stores and specialty retailers such as Nordstrom, Atrium, Blackbird and Ian.

The new sportswear collection includes plaid and herringbone pattern wovens (about $35 at wholesale); jeans in skinny, straight and loose fits ($45), graphic-print T-shirts ($16 to $22) and jackets in leather, nylon, canvas or twill ($45 to $325). Signature details include epaulets and American flag snaps, in a nod to Schott’s history of supplying peacoats and G-1 bomber jackets to the U.S. military. Chunky zipper details on the jeans recall the heavy zippers used on the Schott Perfecto jacket.

The line is designed by Schott’s senior designer, Joe Faris, who joined the company in 2008. The Michigan native is also the organizer of Fashion in Detroit, an initiative scheduled to encompass a dozen men’s and women’s runway shows on Thursday and Friday. Participating designers, in addition to Schott, include Betsey Johnson, Carhartt, Kevan Hall, North Beach Leather and Made in Detroit, owned by rock star Kid Rock.

The show will be staged in a tent erected on the grounds of the Detroit Zoo that will hold 500 spectators. The shows will be open to retailers and press, as well as the public via paid tickets.

“Detroit is in the process of trying to redefine itself, and there is a lot of creative talent here,” said Faris, who splits his time between the Motor City and New York. “The city is in the midst of a lot of challenges, and I wanted to create a positive event for Detroit to showcase that talent.”

Faris is an alum of Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, as he was one of the finalists on season five of “Project Runway” who presented a collection in the Bryant Park tents. Leanne Marshall was the eventual winner that season.

Agatha Szczepaniak, public relations director at Betsey Johnson, which will show its current fall collection in its show, said the company “saw this as an opportunity to feature what’s new at Betsey Johnson to the Detroit customer.” Betsey Johnson operates two retail stores in the Detroit area.

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