John Varvatos is an American contemporary high fashion menswear designer.
The Varvatos family are originally from the Greek island of Cefalonia, in the small village of Poulata. John Varvatos was born in Detroit and grew up in Allen Park, a downriver community situated south of the city of Detroit. He attended Allen Park High School. Varvatos joined Polo Ralph Lauren in 1983. He then moved to Calvin Klein in 1990 where he was appointed head of menswear design and oversaw the launch of the men’s collection and the cK brand. In 1995, he returned to Ralph Lauren as Head of Menswear Design for all Polo Ralph Lauren brands and created the successful Polo Jeans Company.
In late 1999, Varvatos started his eponymous company, debuting his first clothing line at the end of 2000. The collection consisted of tailored high fashion wear, the brand now represents an entire lifestyle that includes belts, handbags, footwear, eyewear, limited edition watches, luxury skincare and fragrances (including one for women).
In September 2000, within months of showing his first collection, John Varvatos opened a freestanding boutique in Soho. The collection is currently distributed in all freestanding John Varvatos boutiques including the 315 Bowery boutique in the space that formerly housed the seminal underground music club CBGB. In addition, the collection is available in select luxury retail stores and better specialty boutiques.
In 2001, John Varvatos was licensed to create a line of high-end Converse All-Star shoes for the Fall/Winter Season that year. The designs were so popular that they have continued to acquire his talents to this day, even branching out into other Converse shoe styles like Jack Purcell and One Star, as well as the younger, edgier John Varvatos USA collection.
John Varvatos credits his early obsession with rock ‘n roll as the catalyst for his interest in fashion. A unifying theme in his design, it is deeply ingrained in all his efforts and evident in every expression of the brand. The memorable ad campaigns for the main collection—shot by Grammy-nominated music documentarian Danny Clinch—have featured such legendary icons as Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Velvet Revolver.
Music is also central to the brand’s philanthropic efforts, including the Save the Music Foundation that is dedicated to restoring instrumental music programs in schools around the country, and the annual Stuart House benefit that raises money for a treatment center for sexually abused children.