MEN’S FASHION ROCK STAR: JOHN VARVATOS

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Interview Alexander Koko

As one of the most successful men’s designers in America, John Varvatos has been part of a fashion renaissance that has allowed men to care about their clothes in public and for the rest of the world to care as well. John Varvatos has built one of today’s most enduring men’s fashion brands with two simple rules: keep it simple, and stay true to your roots. We have interviewed the quintessential designer when he was in Istanbul for a pop-up store opening at Beymen with his new collaboration with the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin.

Why did you decide to become a fashion designer and how did your brand’s career begin on the first place?

It wasn’t a clear path for me as I was growing up that I wanted to become a fashion designer and that it would be my chosen life’s work. As I was working for Ralph Lauren in the early days of my career, I was obsessed with the design process and decided to go back to school and take some classes in design. From there I joined the RL design team, eventually becoming head of design at Calvin Klein, and then returning to RL to head up design for all the menswear brands. With a dream and a vision, in 2000 I created my own brand.

What are the most important and crucial points to become a world-known fashion brand?

Having a clear vision of what my brand could be. A very focused DNA and style.

What do you think or know about Turkish men’s dressing style scene?

Turkish men love great style. Like the global mens fashion scene, Turkish men have embraced the fast moving world of menswear.

What are the highlights from John Varvatos’ Fall-Winter 2019-20 Collection featuring Lucky Blue Smith? Why him? 

This collection we called “Come as You Are.”. The concept was to be yourself and not a follower. Create your own style without all the logos and following your own style sense. Lucky Blue is such an incredible renaissance man. He’s an actor, musician, artist and father.

You dedicated the newest capsule collection to the legendary and one of my favourite bands ever: Led Zeppelin! Would you tell us about the highlights of this special collection along with your feelings?

We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s first album. I became friends with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant around 15 years ago. Jimmy was in my ad campaign with Gary Clark Jr., and I worked together with him on his book tour. Robert and I share our love for music, style, and life. They asked me to do something special for this 50th anniversary and we ended up collaborating on a capsule collection. It has been such an incredible experience.

The John Varvatos brand is so entrenched in rock n roll. Was that always the plan?

Not really. The music and Rock n Roll came organically, just the natural progression of the things I love.

Why are music and fashion so closely linked, do you think?

I think music and fashion are totally incestuous. It seems that every designer wants to be connected with music and every musician wants to be a fashion designer. They are totally intertwined.

How do you feel about Istanbul and being represented by Beymen’s men’s fashion department?

Istanbul has become such an incredibly international city with so much culture to offer. I’ve been represented by Beymen since I started my collection 19 years ago. They’ve been amazing supporter and friends. They are my family in Turkey!

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