MOSCOT – The family business for 5 generations
by Mathias Stering on Sep 06, 2022
Many well-known eyeglass brands on the market today have been bought up by large parent companies and are designed and manufactured by completely independent subcontractors. It's nothing strange in today's industrial society, but it makes one feel even more strongly about optics and family business Moscot from the Lower East Side of New York, which has a history that stretches back over 100 years and through five generations. When the immigrant Hyman Muscot sold glasses directly from his wooden cart on Orchard Street in 1899, he was completely unaware that right there he laid the foundation for what would become one of the world's most respected eyewear brands.
Harvey Moscot, who is today the CEO, usually says that the first thing you see on a person's face is the glasses. You don't see the shoes at first, or their pants. But a person's glasses say something, they reveal the story of who they are. Harvey, who is the fourth generation in the company, has developed the Moscot brand from an independent neighborhood optician to becoming a global fashion eyewear brand. During the journey, he controlled all aspects of the business from frame design to retail and brand management.
Even today, Moscot retains its core and personality in the same neighborhood on New York's Lower East Side where it all began. While Harvey drives the company forward, he helps out daily with eye exams in one of their stores, something he also plans to continue doing as long as he lives. Even though they have become a global company, the family still chooses to see themselves and as much as possible try to act like a neighborhood store. That vision should reflect everything they do, especially when it comes to contact with their customers.
The story of Moscot began 107 years ago
In 1899 , Hyman Moscot arrived in New York from Belarus in search of the American dream and began selling glasses from a wooden cart he pulled up and down Orchard Street. The wooden cart later became Moscot's well-known logo.
In 1915 , Hayman opened his first store at 94 Rivington Street.
In 1936 , Hayman's son Solomon "Sol" (2nd generation) moved the store to the corner of Orchard and Delaneys where it still stands today. Round glasses became very popular in the 1930s, and the round classic MILTZEN and ZOLMAN began to be produced.
During the 1940s, glasses became an important fashion accessory, and Moscot's most iconic model LEMTOSCH was born.
In 1951, Sol's son Joel (3rd generation) took over, who would successfully run the business for a full 50 years.
In 1986, Harvey (4th generation) officially joined the company. 6 years later, brother Kenny also starts as an economist.
In 1996, they managed to open another store at 69 W. 14th Street at the intersection of 6th Avenue. It is Moscot's flagship store today.
In 2013, Harvey's son Zack (5th generation) steps in as chief designer at Moscot.
Named after his grandfather Sol Moscot, Zachary Sol Moscot is the creative and forward-thinking fifth generation of the family. Zachary holds the role of chief designer at Moscot but today approaches all aspects of the business. The idea is that one day he will take over the CEO role from his father and make the company continue to grow worldwide, but until then, however, the main focus will be on the design of the frames. Family and the company's history are important to Zachary, and he says the inspiration for each new bow will always be true to the company's DNA. You should be able to take a Moscot bow anywhere in the world, but it should always reflect the locality of New York.
Moscot as a company has long been considered an institution in the eyewear industry. However, with their growing collections and ability to tell their story worldwide, they are no longer just known as a supplier of eyewear, but also as a strong individual brand in the fashion industry. Today, Moscot plays an important role in the development of eyewear fashion in New York City, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Harvey says the goal for Moscot, today more than ever, is to continue to preserve the family legacy. Each model has a story behind it. Harvey doesn't want customers to feel like they're just getting a pair of glasses. Like his ancestors, he wants the legacy to live on and remain a part of New York's local history for generations to come, continuing to help people tell stories and enhance their personalities.
Moscot's collections – Original and Spirit
Moscot today offers two categories of frames, Original and Spirit Collections . The Original Collection draws its inspiration from how glasses were created within the family business in the 1930s to the 1980s. The Spirit Collection has a more modern touch but has still managed to retain Moscot's DNA. Both collections are available as ophthalmic or sunglasses.
3 personal Moscot favourites
Lemtosh has its basic design from the 40s and is probably the most famous model, although far from the oldest. The actor Johnny Depp has become synonymous with the model, especially after wearing them in the film "Secret Window" (2004), and the bow has become very popular among many of today's world stars.
Miltzen has been around since the 1930s. Both Truman Capote and Andy Warhol have worn them. The name comes from an uncle whose name was Hesh – for some inexplicable reason he was called Uncle Miltzen, Moscot explains on his website.
Zolman . It doesn't get more classic than with a pair of round bows. They were developed by none other than Sol Moscot himself almost 90 years ago, and are just as relevant today. Zolman was his name on the birth certificate.