Long Live Rock!

Detroit Native John Varvatos Partners with Big Machine Records


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Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta and fashion designer John Varvatos // Photograph courtesy of Big Machine Label Group

Detroit native and rock ’n’roll fashion designer John Varvatos is trying on a new hat. He recently announced a business collaboration with Scott Borchetta, founder and CEO/president of Big Machine Records, LLC (Taylor Swift, Cheap Trick, Rascal Flatts).

The pair now share a record label, Big Machine Records/John Varvatos Records, which will serve as a platform to seek out and support suitable rock acts. The first act on their roster is the California rock band, badflower.  

The last time Hour Detroit spoke with Varvatos, he told us that his inspiration for fashion originally came from classic and rock ’n’roll. 

“Jimi Hendrix was a big influence. Jimmy Page, in the ’70s when he was with the Yardbirds … wearing the long military coats,” Varvatos said.

“What really clicked with me was ‘Fun House.’ Iggy and the Stooges. Opening up that gatefold, they’re laying on an Oriental rug and Iggy’s wearing skinny flared jeans that are worn out with a rip in the knee, and Asheton’s got on skinny jeans and a black leather motorcycle jacket. … They didn’t look like anybody else. That hit me over the head. I wanted to look exactly like the Stooges.”

Even before the news of a new record label, it was easy to forget whether you were in a clothing store or music store while strolling through Varvatos’ Detroit location. Rock and fashion intermingle at boutique on Woodward Avenue. It boasts tables and racks of seemingly weathered-leather clothes and accessories, plus miscellaneous drums, guitars, and amplifiers, classic rock vinyl records and players, and books on rock’s most prominent players and places. 

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