I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the ultra-talented John Varvatos at his label’s first flagship store in Canada. It was such a thrill – he was extremely charming and incredibly down to earth, an uncommon balance in someone so tremendously accomplished. He was in Canada celebrating two things, firstly the launch of his new store, and secondly, the release of his new book ‘Rock In Fashion’ which we spoke about here:
This is both the first John Varvatos store in Canada and the release of your first book, how are you feeling right now?
I haven’t really thought about it too much – I’ve been running around so much – it’s just very exciting. I grew up in Detroit and I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada. I dated someone while in College in Toronto for four years, I’ve been here a lot. I have an affinity to Toronto and I think that for North America this city, along with New York and LA, is very cosmopolitan. Even more than LA actually – it’s more global, more international.
Honestly, when I found out that you were working on a book I didn’t understand your motivation. What’s the message that you’re trying to leave with us by releasing ‘Rock In Fashion’?
The end message really is that fashion and rock and roll are totally intertwined, they’re totally incestuous. It started back in the 50s and it’s a relationship that’s just continued to evolve. As you go through the book it shows you that what goes around comes around. Young artists have taken cues from their influencers and made them their own, which is great, but the initial influence is still there – when you flip through the book you see some of the juxtaposition. You really can see it!
What’s the one chapter in your book that best reflects the relationship you see between rock and your fashion?
The section on tailoring really gets to the root of what I do. It’s everything – I had to narrow it from 200 images to 25. It was like tearing my heart out.
At the start of ‘Rock in Fashion’ you have an image of one of your collaborations with Converse – the model is wearing a shirt that says ‘Who the hell is John Varvatos?” – If you could answer in five words, what would you say?
Passionate, focussed, warm, friendly, and bald. If I could add a word, it would be humorous!
Last but not least, if we were at the gym and our iPods were switched, what’s the one artist that I’d be surprised to find on it?
You might find one artist named Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King – that would be something people would not expect me to be listening to!