John Varvatos was born in Detroit and later grew up in Allen Park, Michigan. Upon entering the fashion business, he first joined Polo Ralph Lauren in 1983. In 1990, he moved on to Calvin Klein and was appointed the head of menswear design.
In 2001, he was also licensed to create a high-end line of Converse shoes. His first, self-titled fragrance for men was released in 2004. The company released nine other fragrances between 2006 and 2013. He was awarded the Perry Ellis Award for Menswear in 2000 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He was also honored as GQ's Designer of the Year in 2007.