John Varvatos launched his newest project On This Day (OTD) last Fall to have a decidedly different take than the eponymous brand he’d left in bankruptcy during the height of the COVID19 pandemic in 2020. This new collection, driven by a more upbeat, pop culture moment seems to effortlessly mix a bit of the athletic influence of streetwear with a sort of updated American heritage mix of classic menswear executed in luxurious fabrics. The mix definitely still says “John Varvatos,” but seems — sure, younger and fresher, — — but not something I couldn’t see people of any age adopting. OTD also offers men’s, women’s, and unisex styling: while that may almost seem like the collection is trying to appeal to too broad of an audience, that very flexibility seems to provide a kind of focus for a very modern attitude.
“It just felt right to have something to fit everybody,” says Varvatos. “Most customers look through both the men’s and the women’s collections, anyway. While walking around New York City I was seeing people on the street wearing the clothes they loved and they didn’t necessarily have to be men’s or women’s items.”
While checking out the brand’s SoHo location, James Schuck, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, commented that “having pieces altered with our tailor is key. It makes it possible for a favorite coat to fit either a man or a woman if desired. It allows the entire collection to be shopped with ease.”
When asked if there were plans to develop licenses in the classic designer model, Varvatos pointed out that “certain companies have core competencies that are best for development: like eyewear. We can do sketches to show what we like, but there are companies that have the technology to develop those products. It’s the same with fragrance. We know what we like from a design standpoint, but these companies have different distribution strategies.”
And wholesale? “We’re not sure, yet. For international growth, starting with multi-brand stores will probably make sense, and we’re looking into that for next Spring. But we want to be sure we can walk before we run, and be true to what we’ve started.”
Varvatos will look into opening a few more locations and did a pop-up in Los Angeles, looking into experiential retail as a way to build brand awareness.
“The classic question is always ‘do I have open-to-buy’? I like to think that for now, I have plenty of ‘open-to-listen.'”