Li & Fung’s Rick Darling, designer John Bartlett and IMG Fashion’s Fern Mallis will be among the honorees at the 32nd annual American Apparel & Footwear Association American Image Awards.

The event, which will be held May 26 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, will benefit Autism Speaks, the world’s leading nonprofit organization for autism research and awareness and this year’s charity partner.

“From behind the ‘seams’ to your online shopping cart, the 2010 American Image Award honorees embody the full gamut of the industry,” said AAFA president and chief executive officer Kevin M. Burke. “Our honorees represent the best in leadership and innovation within the industry and charity. We are very proud to recognize their accomplishments and work together to help raise awareness and funds for autism.”

At the dinner, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m., the Humanitarian Award will be presented to Bob and Suzanne Wright, founders of Autism Speaks; the Designer of the Year award will be presented to Bartlett; the Fashion Maverick honor will be given to Mallis, senior vice president of IMG Fashion; Retailer of the Year will be Gap Inc.; Brand of the Year will go to Steve Madden; E-Tailer of the Year is, and the Excellence in Global Leadership award will be presented to Li & Fung Ltd., to be accepted by Bruce Rockowitz, president of Li & Fung Ltd., and Rick Darling, president of LF USA.

Forty percent of the event’s net proceeds will benefit Autism Speaks.

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