By Jillian Urcelay
JU: Your family has a long rich history in eyewear. Can you explain how the Moscot family business began?
HM: The MOSCOT optical roots were first planted in America by great great grandfather and family patriarch, Hyman Moscot, who arrived from Eastern Europe via Ellis Island in 1899. Hyman began selling ready-made eyeglasses from a pushcart on Orchard Street on Manhattan’s famed Lower East Side. Since the opening of the first flagship retail location in 1915 on the Lower East Side, MOSCOT has remained on Orchard Street and has become an eyewear institution making it a fifth generation American family owned and operated business. Today, MOSCOT is recognized as a global brand, with 15 flagship stores worldwide, yet remains at heart a neighborhood optical shop.
How did this unique experience affect your relationship with eyewear and the industry from the start?
HM: As I grew up in the family business, working summers on the retail floor rubbing shoulders with my grandfather (second generation licensed optician), dad (third generation licensed optician) and my aunts and uncles, I learned firsthand how important quality eyecare was in this entire process. Our optometrist at the time was heavily relied upon by my family, and the intersection of health care and fashion intrigued me. Helping others further supported my goal to become an OD. I formally entered the family business in 1986 armed with my Doctor of Optometry degree and was tasked with revising and improving the eyecare services at MOSCOT during this time. I expanded the scope of services that MOSCOT offered, and this combined with a great retail experience enabled MOSCOT to further care for more patients and customers over the years.
How would you describe the MOSCOT eyewear collection and its aesthetic to someone unfamiliar?
ZM: Our MOSCOT Original frames are iconic styles from our family archives. These are styles we have been selling in our shops for over a century and reflect the rich heritage and timeless design details of my predecessors. Our frames are made the authentic way, using traditional hardware and period details, as well as real glass sunglass lenses that were first fabricated by the company nearly 80 years ago. With over a century of family archives and inspiration, our collections cover all shapes, materials and unique colorways, including iconic tortoise shell patterns from years past.
How has New York City influenced the brand and its designs?
ZM: We live and breathe New York City. My father always says, “We were born on Orchard, and we will die on Orchard.” The Lower East Side is our DNA. It was always a place of artists, creative types and unique individuals who came through our doors and molded us into the unique, quirky and fashion-focused brand we are today. We’ve embraced all of the unique individuals who have walked through our doors for over 100 years and truly feel that it is this downtown NYC culture that characterizes our aesthetic and has inspired our vibe and creativity. Everyone has a story to tell and we love hearing, seeing and enhancing each one’s own identity.
What can MOSCOT fans expect for the next collection? Do you have any exciting collaborations in the works?
ZM: As we get older and more mature, our collections do as well. I have been reaching into more recent decades for inspiration, incorporating newer color combinations and materials, and paying close attention to the finer details. Our quest for improved quality is never ending, and our passion for properly fitting frames is paramount. We will continue to hone in on shapes that we feel complement many face types and offer multiple sizes in each of our styles—a unique offering of our brand as we feel it is so important that your optical frame is properly fit to your face and adjusted. We do have some partnerships with artists and other NYC designers that we feel are aligned with our brand and allow us to explore new creative avenues with one another. We are excited for our new fall collection!