On Monday, November 25th, Polimoda will welcome contemporary menswear designer John Varvatos for a rebellious interview by British fashion designer Keanan Duffty to chat about the beauty of coloring outside the lines and practicing reckless individuality to succeed in the fashion industry.
There’s no denying it, John Varvatos has a lot of soul. Raised in Detroit, the designer grew up surrounded by a musical fusion of Motown, rock & roll, blues, jazz and punk. This kind of melodic energy mutated his chakras into something electric, shaking up his imagination into an edgy unity of old and new and shaping him into the thriving designer he is today.
In the early 80s, John Varvatos started playing with the big brands. He joined Polo Ralph Lauren, dedicating himself to the company for six years before being recruited in 1990 by Calvin Klein as Head of Menswear Design. At cK, Varvatos was responsible for the men’s collection launches. Five years later, he returned to Polo as Head of Menswear Design, responsible for the entire Polo Ralph Lauren brand and creating the well-known RLL, Black Label and Polo Jeans Company. In 2000, the experienced designer decided to carve his path and launch his brand.
Varvatos was recognized by the CFDA as Menswear Designer of the Year in 2000, 2001 and 2005. In 2007, GQ Magazine named John “Designer of the Year.” In 2013, he was honored as Menswear Designer of the Year at the 10th Annual Style Awards. He also released his first book John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion. In 2014, he went back to his roots, launching his own record label. But the accolades don’t end there.
In 2015, John was honored with the Accessories Council Excellence (ACE) Award for “Designer of the Year” given by The Accessories Council, the first time the organization recognized a men’s designer. He was also offered the “Icon Award for Social Impact” at Footwear News’ Annual Achievement Awards for his support of charitable causes.
John Varvatos strongly believes in using your voice to create change. We can’t wait to hear more of his when he sits down with the unbeatable Keanan Duffty for this iconic Q&A.