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John Varvatos

315 Bowery St. New York, NY 10003 | East Village | 212-358-0315

Location Description:

Born in Detroit, high fashion menswear designer John Varvatos claims a deep inspiration based in rock and roll and rock style. Varvatos has employed many rockstars to model his clothes, and was tapped to produce a high-end line of Converse--aka rock's staple sneaker, appreciated for its unadorned simplicity. However, this 315 Bowery location was once home to the legendary underground punk club CBGB's, and many criticized Varvatos for moving his boutique into the space. The piss and drug dust has been scraped off the floor, and racks of luxury goods now line the dark walls, a few of which still feature some tattered fliers. The store also serves as a commemoration to the CB's with some framed guitars and a stage, still set up in the back for "special events," but does Varvatos really have no respect for rock and roll's anti-establishment integrity? For some lifers, the opening of the boutique was the great blow to the Bowery's scrappy, scummy, Bohemian past. Yet, in spite of the backlash, CB's was firstly about the sweat, grit, and energy, so perhaps there is no proper, authentic way to honor the actual space. At least it's not a Starbucks. --Alex Spoto


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