Moscot, the 106-year-old family eyewear brand, has officially arrived in Toronto, having opened the doors of its very first Canadian optical store in late December. The new location, on Cumberland Street in Yorkville, marks the 17the worldwide and is the last step in the brand’s international expansion.
Moscot – which remains an anomaly in the eyewear business: a truly family owned and operated brand – was founded in 1915 by Hyman Moscot, who arrived in New York City from Eastern Europe via Ellis Island in 1899 before selling glasses. glasses in a cart in the Lower East Coast. Over the decades that followed, the brand’s eyewear became a cult favorite, spotted by Andy Warhol and Tom Hanks, due to their classic and timeless designs and construction.
While Moscot has been a fixture in New York City for over a century, it was only under the leadership of current CEO Dr. Harvey Moscot – the fourth generation to lead Moscot and a trained optometrist – that the brand embarked on a global expansion, adding outlets in a distant style. capitals like Copenhagen, Tokyo and Seoul. “We’ve always been brick and mortar first. And although the pandemic has been tough on retail, we still see the crisis as an opportunity to find good leases in good locations, ”says Dr. Harvey of the birth of Moscot’s Toronto location. .
It’s a really good location: a cozy storefront along Cumberland Street in the heart of Yorkville. Before settling in on the location – which is now, of course, dressed head-to-toe in recognizable Moscot yellow – Zack and Harvey explored other potential landing spots, such as Bloor Street or Queen. West nearby. “Zack and I roam the cities that interest us [and we] felt [Yorkville] had all the ingredients: a local community, public transport, other brands that would attract international trade. It’s like a village; it’s concentrated and it gives an impression of intimacy, ”explains Dr. Harvey.
Inside, the shop is classically Moscot. The walls are lined with an almost overwhelming array of eyeglasses and sunglasses (or, at the very least, celebrity photos). resistant Moscot glasses). “Many colors and materials are based on the construction and authentic colors of the time. [when a frame was designed]Says Zack Moscot, design director and son of Harvey. “I’m still trying to see how far we can push [the design] but stay true to who we are. The space itself is a nod to the brand’s history, outfitted with pewter ceilings and lighting fixtures built from scratch and shipped to Toronto, inspired by the original Moscot stores. “We try to bring a piece of New York everywhere we go,” says Zack.
More than 100 years after its founding, Moscot has officially crossed the border, which is good news for stylish Torontonians (and the city’s retail sector after being beaten by Covid-19), but that did it take so long? “We’re moving slowly,” says Dr. Harvey, laughing. “It took us over 100 years to have 17 stores. We do this in a very thoughtful and measured way and try to approach markets that remind us of who and what we are and where we come from. And Toronto, to me, has a lot of what New York has – without the aggravation. “