MOSCOT, a New York City optical establishment, is nearing 100 years in business, its foundation crafted on creating timeless eyewear and unparalleled craftsmanship. A family business, MOSCOT’s frames have that unique old-school charm, yet with modern details. Here, Life+Times chats with co-presidents Harvey Moscot and Wendy Simmons about the longevity of the brand, their foundation Mobileyes, and what it was like working with photographer Terry Richardson on a co-branded set of lenses.
Life+Times: The two of you have very distinct roles within an age-old company. Can you tell me what each of your responsibilities are within MOSCOT?
MOSCOT: We work very collaboratively. From start to finish, we work on everything together. From product design and development, to campaign conceptualization to execution and overall strategy for the company, we do everything together. This is a case were there can be two cooks in the kitchen; we defy that age-old adage. Whatever distinct strengths we have compliment one another.
L+T: MOSCOT clearly has a niche of the market cornered due to its legacy and impeccable frames. What do you feel differentiates MOSCOT from other eyewear companies?
MOSCOT: The impeccable quality of our frames comes from 100 years of experience combined with our design expertise. Add to that the marketing and creativity and adherence to our values — fashion, humor, heritage — and you have a very unique and distinct company. We understand what a proper frame fit is. It’s more than a great frame. It’s a frame that fits well, functions well, and of course looks good. Fashion before comfort does not apply — it’s everything together. 100 years of experience cannot be replicated.
L+T: Tell me a little about the MOSCOT Mobileyes Foundation and its central mission to preserve sight. How and why did this come about?
MOSCOT: As a member of this community for nearly a century, we really thought it was important to give back. We choose NY because the community has been coming to us for that long for our expertise. We see how much one pair of glasses can make all the difference in a person’s life, and we want to be able to give that experience to people who may not have access. We are a company that treats everyone like family, so it was also a way to encourage our employees to give back, feel good and know they’re doing something important.
L+T: MOSCOT is a family business. Do you think the emphasis on a familial bond has helped maintain your prominence in the marketplace?
MOSCOT: It’s not the family per se, but the values that hold a family together which we apply to how we run our company: caring for each other, mutual respect, and giving everyone inside the company a chance to let their natural talents shine. We produce everything in house including our campaigns. On staff, we happen to have people who are photographers, make up artists, stylists — you name it — whom we use for any campaigns or marketing materials we produce. We want to give our staff the opportunity to shine at the talents they have beyond their core functions at MOSCOT. The family history is, of course, very unique and cool, but it’s the fact that we run the company like a family with those values that makes it so unique.
L+T: Where do you see the brand going in the next 50 years? Where do you want it to go?
MOSCOT: We’ve spent a 100 years maintaining this brand. We have a great deal of respect for what the family has done. Over the next 7-10 years, we’ll maintain the values that have made us who we are — we never want to lose these qualities that make us a company that people like to like, that make people happy to come to work and hopefully make people excited to be here. In the next 50 years, we’d like to continue to make quality products – there are a lot of children and grandchildren.
L+T: Tell me a little bit about the new styles you’ve recently introduced. I know “The Terry” garnered a lot of media buzz.
MOSCOT: We recently introduced metals in the MOSCOT Originals Collection, which have the same design principles as all other MOSCOT styles. The new MOSCOT Originals — The BENNO, IZZY, MENDEL, YOSI and ZELDA — are authentic replicas of styles from the MOSCOT family archives, circa the 1960s and 1970s. Each frame has been meticulously crafted to retain the fine details of its original construction, including groove detailing along the temples and acetate accents across the brow. The IZZY and The MENDEL also feature fashion tint lenses. The seasonal MOSCOT Sun Collection, known for bold, eclectic designs, circa the 1970s through the 1990s, departs from the family archives but still adheres to the core creative values that makes each frame distinctively MOSCOT. The sophomore collection is no exception. Big and bold, The ADRIENNE, CAMERON, CASSIUS, EMERSON, and ISOBEL feature fine details such as brushed metal on the temples and classic two dot rivets — in addition, of course, to fly style. We’re very lucky to work with Terry — he’s a big fan of the brand and he’s been a very good friend to MOSCOT.