Specializing in menswear, John Varvatos is a contemporary fashion designer, born in Detroit and raised in Allen Park. Before starting off with his career, he studied at Allen Park High School. Initially, Varvatos intended to become a teacher of science during his college years, however he ended up in retail business. In 1983, he began working at Polo Ralph Lauren. In 1990, he joined to Calvin Klein as the head of department for menswear and managed the launch of men’s line. Five years later, he returned to Ralph Lauren as the design head for menswear for all the brands of the company and introduced the Polo Jeans line. His success led him to new positions inside the company. The young designer was transferred to New York, where his focus was design, merchandising and sales.
In 1999, John Varvatos founded his own company and debuted his first apparel line in New York at the end of 2000. The same year, he opened his first store in SoHo. Varvatos also tried to introduce a collection of women’s fashion inspired by the men’s line, however it wasn’t as recognized as his menswear. Despite this, the brand expanded its products and now has a collection of footwear, belts, eyewear, handbags, fragrances and watches. His collection is available at retail stores as well apart from his own stores. In 2001, he received a license to produce top-notch converse shoe line.
Eight years later, a radio program was launched on The Spectrum Channel by Varvatos, in which interviews and songs from several artists were included, who inspired Varvatos throughout his professional life. The show was called New York Nights and the channel belonged to SIRIUS XM. It was not only entertaining and interactive but also communicated information about the designer from his own point of view. Moving on in 2012, he joined the celebrity mentor cast in Fashion Star show on NBC – a reality series in search for the next big fashion label. A year later, a Chrysler 300 limited edition was released in his name.
John Varvatos has credited rock n roll as his obsession and the music genre became a catalyst for his inspiration and interest in the field of fashion. Advertisement campaigns of his collections, photographed by Danny Clinch, featured bands and musicians, such as Chris Cornell, The Roots, Dave Matthews, Velvet Revolver, Alice Cooper, Green Day and Iggy Pop. Moreover, music is a part of the brand’s charitable efforts, like Save the Music Foundation. Although Varvatos’s family was conservative, he had interest in rock music and when he learnt driving, he started going to rock music shows in the locality. The designer was highly fascinated by musicians that he attempted to dress like them too. Varvatos worked in men’s fashion outlets even when he went to Eastern Michigan University. There he gained knowledge about guitar and learnt to play it. John Varvatos has also performed with bands.
In 2000, John Varvatos was received Perry Ellis Award for menswear by Council of Fashion Designers of America. A year later, the same organization presented him the Designer of the Year Award. In 2005, he was given menswear designer of the year at New York Public Library by CDFA. For the third award, he competed for the honor alongside John Bartlett and Ralph Lauren. The recipients were determined by a set of top journalists, retailers, stylists and magazine editors.