10 Jan Brand Feature: John Varvatos
Since its inception in 1999, the John Varvatos line has exuded the rebellious spirit of red-blooded rock and roll with its unapologetic edge and belief in bucking trends. John Varvatos built his legacy on a foundation of fundamentals he learned from legends of the fashion industry and pushed the boundaries of where menswear can go.
That John Though…
“When you do men’s wear, it’s less about thinking outside the box than about pushing the walls of the box outward. Men want to be evolutionary, not revolutionary.” – John Varvatos
Varvatos began his career in fashion in retail sales and merchandising before heading into the Ralph Lauren corporate offices in the 80s. He then went on to Calvin Klein where he developed the cK brand and designed the infamous and “most replicated form of men’s underwear”. In 1995, he returned to Ralph Lauren as Head of Menswear Design for all of the Polo Ralph Lauren brands where he led the launch of the Polo Jeans Company.
You would think after creating some of the most iconic American brands over the course of a decade that the man would show signs of slowing. However, like a true star he kept shining. A year into starting his namesake line, Varvatos won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Perry Ellis award for new menswear designer of the year. He continues to receive awards and prestige for his designs: twice he’s won the CFDA’s menswear designer of the year and in 2007 he was named GQ’s designer of the year.
Major Key Alert ?
Varvatos says, “Every guy wants to be a little bit of a rock star,” but you don’t need to master the B flat scale and shred in the spotlight to be comfortable in anything by him. The designer believes “rock extends beyond a genre or a moment and embodies a lifestyle unlike any other.” The line is for the rockstar of any industry (or even just the rockstar that dwells inside us all).
An off-duty chef strips down from his whites after his restaurant closes, throws on his ironic “Bite Me” tee under his new favourite racing coat, and winds down with a glass of whiskey at the best hole-in-the-wall pub you haven’t heard of. A creative director at a small, local gallery, with his velour-dotted shirt strategically unbuttoned, presents his thank-you speech to all the volunteers, fundraisers and the cute philanthropist in the front of the crowd at the latest opening. A dad walks to a new beat in the grocery aisle with a scarf nonchalantly draping his shoulders in his purposefully disheveled looking “Live or Die at the 315” tee, the replacement shirt he bought when his wife finally threw out his beer-and-pizza-stained CBGB raglan from college.
The John Varvatos man is in tune with the trends but walks to his own beat. His look is sharp without ever being out of key. He wears his own uniform. He is a rebel. He is authentic. He is a rockstar.
-Froilan Santos, Contributing Writer