photography by ELLINOR STIGLE

Interview with Zack Moscot

Written by Robin Clementson by pari

“Moscot is a Family”

The classic Moscot iconic eyewear have been worn by many familiar faces around the world for decades. It started as a small local business over hundred years ago in Manhattan, New York. The brand has survived generations and is now a thriving global brand, well known for its timeless design and quality.

We had the chance to interview with Zack Moscot, 26, who is the fifth generation of the Moscot family and the chief eyewear designer of the family brand.

– I am constantly motivated by my family’s century of hard work, and dedicated to ensuring the longevity of the Moscot brand, he says.

You are fifth generation Moscot, what is life like today within the brand compared to the years before you?

ZM: The Moscot brand has evolved quite a bit. While we do consider ourselves a global fashion brand, we are still, at heart, a neighbourhood optical shop, and this philosophy is expressed through all of our branded initiatives. The difference between the past and the present is, now we are able to tell our 100+ year-old story to the rest of the world! We launch new eyewear collections seasonally, and our small team works tirelessly to ensure our brand ethos, design and heritage transcends various cultural differences.

Talk to us about the origins of Moscot and why you think the brand has survived for 101 years?

ZM: What’s unique about Moscot is that we are truly a 102-year-old family business with five generations behind our name. All four generations before me were dedicated to providing customers the ultimate optical experience. Sol, second generation Moscot, used to tell customers, “Your vision is our concern!” At the heart of Moscot, not much has changed; we are constantly striving to keep our loyal fans and customers happy by providing a memorable experience and timeless, quality eyewear. We’re focused on the relationships we build, and on doing the right things for the right reasons. We believe our honesty and humble attitude is why generations of customers have put their trust in us, and return to Moscot year after year.

What is the DNA of Moscot what are the must do’s and dont’s that any new employee must adhere to or know about?

ZM: At the end of the day, Moscot is a family. We are one big family and that is the feeling that resonates in the shops, at manager’s meetings, and even company events. We have a 20+-year employee club, some of whom have been with the company for over 40+ years and spent time behind the counter with my grandfather and great grandfather! Moscot is a home for us Moscot-eers and we like to keep it that way! It’s important all employees understand the depth of the family history and the origins of Moscot. My father and I believe that one must know where he/she comes from in order to know where he/she is headed, and this message applies to our staff as well. There is a certain warmth and sincerity that is unspoken in the House of Moscot. Our do’s: smile, good energy, and passion. Fortunately, most of our employees happen to be artists and creative types so this comes easy to them!

Whenever we meet fans of Moscot or we discuss the brand with people within the industry, we always hear the words ‘retro’ and ‘cool’. Do you see the product in the same light, or is there so much more to it?

ZM: I feel that when one wears a pair of Moscot frames, he or she is wearing 100+ years of downtown NYC heritage and family history. A Moscot frame represents the immigrant story of my great-great-grandfather who escaped oppression and came to America in 1899 to start a new life. He did what he knew how to do best: he sold glasses off a pushcart. There is a certain emotional connection between a Moscot frame and the wearer. The product is time-honored in its design, and also has emotional depth. The brand has been owned and operated by the Moscot family for over a century, and five generations later, we continue to pour the same love and devotion into what we do. As a product designer and someone who loves classics, I find that people feel this connection and the authentic attributes of our brand the way we do.

So many celebrities wear the brand, can you tell us who you think might wear it the best and why?

ZM: We’re so fortunate that so many celebrities have taken a liking to the Moscot brand! Quite frankly, it happened naturally, being that Moscot has always been located in the Lower East Side – a place that exudes the Moscot DNA and is filled with artists and independent thinkers. It’s really hard to say who wears Moscot best since every individual has his or her own Moscot identity and individual look. I can say, however, that Johnny Depp first wearing The Lemtosh in the early 2000s helped put the frame on the map. It showed people all over the world the beauty of that silhouette.

You are the first Moscot family member not to be a qualified optician, but a designer and responsible now for the new collections, namely the up-coming Opti-Munich trunk collection and the new SS17 line to be unveiled at MIDO in February. How does it feel to be coming from a totally new family angle?

ZM: When I first entered the business there was a lot of pressure since I really had no optical background. All my predecessors had optician licenses, and my dad Harvey is an eye doctor (O.D.). I always wanted to join the business, but never really had a passion for the “eyeballs” per se. I did, however, have a passion and eye for design. I realized I could combine my passion for product with my family’s unique history, and I began to push the envelope. My father appreciates my design background since I am able to approach the business with new perspectives and creative thinking. Together, he and I are a solid team and together we create product that not only looks good, but is designed with optical expertise to provide the ultimate fit for all face shapes.

What do you try to incorporate into your designs, what’s the aim and the direction? Are you led by generic trends?

ZM: When designing new product, I pay close attention to the history of our frames and the decade’s past. The mission is always to create models that cohesively grow and enhance the collection while adhering to our brand identity. While certain seasonal releases may be inspired by particular eras or concepts, the final designs are always clean, minimalistic, and classic. I want our customers to come to Moscot and know they will find a design that will not go out of style, lasts a lifetime, compliments their face and bone structure, and boosts their self-perception and individuality.

How would describe where Moscot sits today as a brand?

ZM: Moscot represents an emerging brand in the independent eyewear segment. Much of the industry worldwide is dominated by some of the larger conglomerates. As a small, family-owned business in NYC, we pay close attention to where and how our product lives. While we may be a smaller player in the growing market of eyewear, we feel confident we’re able to provide the best service and quality eyewear to our loyal fans, and anyone looking for something different, special, authentic, and timeless.


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