John Varvatos founded his company in late 1999. Varvatos had previously been the head of menswear design at Calvin Klein, as well as the head of menswear design for all Polo Ralph Lauren brands. He was also responsible for the creation of the Polo Jeans Company. Varvatos cites rock and roll as the catalyst for his fashion interests, and he uses rock aesthetics as the foundation of his brand's designs. The company's ad campaigns often feature musicians, including Jimmy Page, Willie Nelson, Iggy Pop, Dave Matthews, The Roots, and Gary Clark, Jr.