John Varvatos Knows When a Competitor Is Planning to Knock Him Off

By
Photo: Patrick McMullan

John Varvatos understands Donna Karan’s frustration with the media-saturation in fashion, and the knockoffs that follow it. But as he told us before Guns ‘n Roses’ surprise performance at his party last night, he believes there is no way of controlling it, even with merchandise that is already in stores. “We have people that come in our store and spend $20,000, and then we get their credit card and we see that they’re with another designer or a vertical retail store,” he said. Wait, really? “Oh, I won’t mention other brands, but when other brands come in and it has their name on the credit card, and they’re buying $20,000 or $10,000 worth of your stuff, or every bag you make, or twelve shoes and they don’t care what size it is, you know they’re knocking it off,” he said. He doesn’t relish that kind of business, but is philosophical about it. “If they stop coming here to buy it and they’re going to somebody else, you’re no longer the hot person. When people stop knocking me off, that means we’re not the relevant people anymore.”