Historic upscale New York City-based optical frame and sunglasses brand MOSCOT has entered the Canadian market by opening its first standalone store location in downtown Toronto. After testing the market, a Montreal location could follow according to the family-owned business which spans five generations and has just 18 stores in 12 cities globally.
The Toronto MOSCOT storefront opened in late December at 153 Cumberland Street in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville area. The 800 square foot storefront replaces SEE Eyewear that occupied the space for about three and a half years. The store’s interior references historical elements found in MOSCOT’s stores in New York City including photography and a bright yellow colour scheme.
MOSCOT’s full range of glasses frames are now available for the first time in Canada in the new store. Zach Moscot designs the frames and is a fifth generation family member. He explained in an interview that prior to opening the new Toronto store, only selected styles of MOSCOT eyewear was available wholesale in Canada — the new store is part of a brand building endeavour which he said will also help grow sales for multi-brand retailers as well while growing market share overall.
A store expansion for MOSCOT in Canada would be careful he said, with the Montreal market being eyed for a storefront at some point in the future. Success of the Toronto store will be a signal for future Canadian stores he said. Toronto is only the third market for MOSCOT in North America to have a standalone location.
The 106-year-old brand is known for its unique frames in a variety of colours priced at several hundred dollars per pair. Frames are made from materials ranging from metal to beta-titanium. Since 2008, the company has partnered with several designers in collaborations. MOSCOT stores are noted for having eye-catching yellow facades with black trim, and the new Toronto store is no exception.
Besides its store locations in the greater New York City and Los Angeles areas, MOSCOT has standalone stores in Rome, Milan, Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Yokohama and Seoul. Last month the retailer opened its first store in Denmark in central Copenhagen and more international locations are planned.
MOSCOT was founded by Hyman Moscot in the Lower East Side neighbourhood of Manhattan in 1915. In 1925, his son Solomon took over in the business and in 1935, he relocated the store to 118 Orchard Street in New York City where he introduced a bright yellow colour scheme to the store that was named SOL MOSCOT. Solomon’s son Joel began running the business in 1951 and his sons Harvey and Kenny joined the company in 1986 and 1991 respectively. Joel retired in 2003 and ‘Sol’ was dropped from the name of the retailer that was then called just MOSCOT. His sons began to take the retailer global with stores overseas in Asia and Europe.
Various celebrities in years past have worn MOSCOT frames, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Johnny Depp.
MOSCOT joins other eyewear retailers in Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville area. Last year on Cumberland Street, retailer All Eyes On Me opened a unique storefront focused primarily on Cartier designs. Other optical retailers in the area include Karir on Old York Lane, Optical Outlook on Yorkville Avenue, Holly Eyewear on Cumberland Street, Lenscrafters at the Holt Renfrew Centre, Hudson’s Bay Optical at the Hudson’s Bay Centre, Josephson’s on Bay Street and a Hakim Optical at the northwest corner of Bloor and Bay Streets. Bloor-Yorkville represents one of the highest densities of eyewear retailers in Canada with other major nodes including Queen Street West in Toronto and West 4th Avenue in Vancouver.
See below for more photos of the new Toronto store.
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