Source: Moscot via Bloomberg

Why Is Moscot Making a Smart Car for Its 100th Birthday?

The Moscot family, going back five generations, has long been car enthusiasts

Luxury eyewear brand Moscot is turning 100 years old today and celebrating not with champagne but with a car—a limited edition Smart Fortwo Moscot cabriolet. It's an odd pairing.

What does a hyper-efficient mini auto have to do with Hyman Moscot first selling ready-made eyeglasses from a pushcart in Manhattan’s Lower East Side?

If you ask the folks at Moscot, they’ll say they like just the little cars. But the partnership is less of a stretch than you might think.

For starters, both objects are works of art. Moscot’s thick acetate frames were the first to make “nerd glasses" seem cool, and fashion designers such as Chris Benz have created special collections that couple off Moscot’s recognizable Nebb frame (squarish with rounded corners; you know it). Likewise, Smart recently paired with fashion designer Jeremy Scott to make a special-edition car with wings. And in 2002, New York's Museum of Modern Art introduced the first-generation Fortwo into its permanent collection.

moscot-anniversary-bloomberg-2

(clockwise from left) Sol Moscot in his Model T, 1927; the old family store at 94 Rivington Street; the other family store at 119 Orchard Street, 1932.

Source: Moscot via Bloomberg

In fact, the Moscot family—five generations strong at this point, stretching back to Hyman's 1899 Ellis Island immigration—have long been car enthusiasts, starting with Hyman’s son Sol, who collected open-top automobiles in the early 1900s (he's in the photograph above driving a 1927 Model T Ford on the day he got his driver's license). Today his great-grandson, Zack Moscot, drives a Fortwo of his own.

Moscot was among the first eyewear brands to dig into their family archives and develop new frames based on the stylish DNA of their heritage types. Since then celebrities known for being especially style conscious—the Johnny Depps, Mary-Kate Olsens, and Kanye Wests of the world—have sought them out for their New York-cool look.

For the anniversary, limited-edition Lemtosh Smart frames are made to go driving, layering Moscot's trademark lens hues between matte black acetate. Three different clip-on lens combinations allow unfettered sight in both sunny and cloudy conditions.

 

Top row: the many stages of the Lemtosh Fold frame. Bottom row, from left: the Lemtosh Smart; the Lemtosh Wood, released in conjunction with the anniversary.

(clockwise from top left) Lemtosh Fold, Lemtosh Wood, and Lemtosh Smart frames.

Source: Moscot via Bloomberg

The family does tend to keep things tight. Two of the fourth-generation brothers run the business, which has two stores in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn, one in Seoul, South Korea, and more than 80 stockists worldwide. (New frames, such as those Lemtoshes, are made in China.)

So tight, in fact, that they declined to release more details about the special-edition Fortwo until its debut in Milan on Feb. 28. They did reveal that it will have black and yellow interior details to reflect the brand’s signature colors—and 100 of them will be made. How fitting.

 

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