John Varvatos Wins Spirit of Design Award

John Varvatos
Photo: Patrick McMullan
John Varvatos.

It’s a good year for John Varvatos! The designer not only landed a plum gig as a mentor alongside the likes of Nicole Richie and Jessica Simpson on  NBC's Fashion Star, but he has just been honored with Philadelphia University’s 2012 Spirit of Design Award, Women’s Wear Daily reports.

The award was born in 2012, with Geoffrey Beene as its first recipient. Since then, Tommy Hilfiger, Francisco Costa, and Mary McFadden have been among the university’s honorees.

“What I love about this evening is that it’s about innovation,” Varvatos said as he accepted his award on Saturday in Philadelphia among a crowd of students.

“We’re in an industry that’s a cross between innovation and copycats, and there are a lot of people who just do versions of versions of versions. But everybody here today needs to think about being an innovator, not a follower. You don’t want to be a wannabe. You want to be an about-to-be. You want to be a leader.”