A century of crafting the perfect eyewear, from sunglasses to reading frames, is it any surprise that New York-born and based brand MOSCOT has become one of the most well-regarded and sought after names in the industry?
The Moscot name can trace itself back to the dawn of a new century, 1899, in New York when brand founder Hyman Moscot began selling his eyewear from a pushcart along the city streets. Form, fit, quality – these details would become the pillars that would see MOSCOT designed eyewear thrive over the course of the next 100 years and onwards.
Today, those same pillars apply. Legacy frames such as the Lemtosh carry the brand’s DNA from its earliest days, while Originals collections such as the Smendrik and Klutz pay homage to the MOSCOT family archives, a nod to the timelessness of the era’s aesthetic.
ICON spoke to the fifth generation Moscot, and current Chief Creative Officer Zack Moscot about the impact of his family’s eyewear and why they’ve remained a perennial favourite for those who value authentic style.
ICON: Did you always know you would be part of the family business?
Zack Moscot: Being born into a multi-generational family business is a very interesting thing. For anyone that may be in a family business, you often know that business and life merge together. When you’re with family you’re talking about business and when you’re at work you are speaking with family. This was always the case in our family culture and a part of me always wanted to be a part of the “club” that my father and grandfather were in. I explored the business in my younger years, learning different aspects and performing different roles. I always had a passion for design and so it was important I found a way to add value to the business down my own avenue as I did not want to focus on eyeballs or become an eye doctor like my father. This was when I had my “aha” moment and realised I could become our family’s first formally trained product designer and bring a new perspective to the brand from a design and creative point of view. I was fortunate my father embraced this more artistic angle and that he appreciates my perspective when it comes to the business as well. We’re lucky and grateful that we have an incredible relationship and complement one another as we bring different points of expertise to the business and collaborate daily on everything from product to creative to retail to ecommerce.
ICON: MOSCOT has been described as being synonymous with New York style – how would you define this?
ZM: What’s amazing about eyewear is how a pair of glasses can truly define one’s sense of self. We can all think of iconic individuals and picture clearly in our minds the frames they wear. Many famous artists, musicians, poets, or creatives who have frequented MOSCOT in NYC over the last century have been synonymously known for their bold or quirky frames. We find to this day that our New York audience remains extremely diverse, full of independent thinkers who enjoy wearing our timeless MOSCOT Original styles that they use to emphasise their sense of self, style, and individuality.
ICON: Few other eyewear boast the history MOSCOT offers – what has been the enduring appeal of the brand?
ZM: As a family business of 107 years and now being the 5th generation of our heritage brand, my father and I remain true to our roots and the philosophies of our predecessors. It all starts with our customers and the customer experience – making sure that the MOSCOT experience is memorable, familial, and enriched with the expertise in the optical business that we are known for. Finding the frame that fits one’s lifestyle and coupling it with clear and precise vision is the core of what we do. We strive to remain true to our lower east side DNA – always remembering where we came from and our humble beginnings and incorporating this aesthetic, history, and knowledge in everything we do from product to creative to digital to physical retail shops.
ICON: Is there a silhouette, detail or aesthetic from those early days when Hyman Moscot began the company that has continued on to today?
ZM: There are several MOSCOT Originals styles that have endured the test of time and remain timeless regardless of the fashion trends. Our Lemtosh style from the late 1940s remains a universal favourite as it perfectly balances a round and square silhouette and is offered in 4 sizes, which makes it sure to find a home on any face!
ICON: Innovation versus the importance of heritage – which do you think has more importance when it comes to new MOSCOT collections?
ZM: It’s truly important for me to balance both equally, and I find it is my job as 5th generation and designer to do so. From a design perspective, it is critical that my new collections speak the language of MOSCOT — meaning if you see a MOSCOT frame you can see and feel it to be a MOSCOT frame. Yet, I am always exploring and pushing the boundaries in terms of frame or lens material and quality. Shape and fit are the most integral components of any new frame we design. We put craftsmanship at the top of our list and so it is critical to my father and I that we can make the best frame for the fairest price, and for this reason we never compromise on construction or quality.
ICON: On that note, when creating a new collection – what pillars or qualities are essential to retaining the MOSCOT DNA?
ZM: Form. Fit. Quality. It all starts with a silhouette that incorporates a piece of history from our family archives. From there, we spend countless hours studying the fit of the frame – ensuring that the sizes we design are optimal for fitting one’s face as well as housing different lens types. Finally, we can focus on the colour palette from frame materials to lenses that speak to the heritage of the brand – classic tortoiseshells and sophisticated monochromatic tones that complement different skin tones and easily coordinate with different wardrobes.
ICON: Which pair do you find yourself most often reaching for?
ZM: As of late I have been really enjoying my Dahven sunglass – it balances so well for something that is simple, comfortable, yet packs a punch with new colourways, custom made tinted lenses and 8mm chunky acetate!