Today, March 8, 2012, VF Corp announced that Lion Capital would be acquiring majority ownership in John Varvatos Enterprises, with Varvatos retaining an ownership position and title of Chairman and Creative Chief Officer.
John Varvatos comes up in youth culture fashion not only for his reputation for creating rock-influenced designs, and his cool collaboration with Converse, but because his collections are one of the most unique and independent within the range of brands in the VF Corp fold, including Wrangler, Lee, Vans, The North Face, and Nautica.
Rumors have been percolating for several years that Varvatos was hoping to ditch the VF Corp umbrella and come out from under on his own. In 2009, New York Post rumored that Varvatos was in talks with many potential buyers for his brand which was estimated at bringing in around $60 million a year.
Many said that Varvatos never really fit into the VF Corp fold anyway, but it happened when the conglomerate bought out Nautica in 2003, which at the time also owned Varvatos.
According to the statement from VF Corp, Lyndon Lea, Partner of Lion Capital, said “Behind John’s unique style and uncompromising vision, the John Varvatos®brand has become one of the most exciting brands to enter the men’s luxury apparel landscape in the past dozen years. With a loyal and rapidly growing customer base, the brand is well positioned for future growth across multiple product lines and distribution channels both in the United States and internationally. We look forward to unlocking the substantial potential that we see within the brand over the next several years.”
John Varvatos noted: “I couldn’t be more excited about this new chapter in the John Varvatos® brand. It’s been an amazing ride with VF Corporation, and they have been terrific business partners. Eric Wiseman is one of the best leaders I have ever worked with and he has been a wonderful, supportive friend. With Lion Capital we will be aggressively growing our company-owned retail stores, both domestically and on a global basis. They understand the brand and are deeply committed to expand the menswear platform that we have created into additional product categories. Lion’s proven track record with brands such as Jimmy Choo expresses the vision of Lyndon Lea and his team.”
The creative spirit and edginess intrinsic in the personal style of rock ‘n’ roll icons has inspired Varvatos and influenced the evolution of his eclectic sensibility. This can be seen as a unifying theme in his design and it is deeply ingrained in every expression of his brand, including his famed 315 Bowery boutique in New York City, formerly the seminal underground music club CBGB, where Varvatos pays tribute to the musical heritage of this legendary site. With this unique brand position that unites a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility and old world craftsmanship with modern innovation, Varvatos has become one of the most well-known menswear designers in the world.