By  on November 5, 2007

NEW YORK — About 1,000 volunteers have been pulling together the world's largest sample sale, 7th on Sale, which will get under way Nov. 15 with a gala at the 69th Regiment Armory here and will be followed with a three-day sale open to the public.

More than 500 companies have donated $9 million worth of women's, men's and children's clothing and accessories, as well as home-related pieces, and the inventory is still on the rise. Some labels have provided 1,000-plus pieces, or $100,000 worth of merchandise, said Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Once again, the sale will raise money for people affected by HIV and AIDS, which it has done since its inception in 1990.

"This is one of those rare experiences where the competitiveness of fashion is gone, and there is this collective energy for something good. Every aspect of the industry — whether it be in America or internationally — is pitching in," Kolb said. "I don't think there are a lot of other industries that have this kind of support."

There will be an online auction of goods at 7thonsaleeBay.com, starting Nov. 15 and running through Dec. 6. New items will be added continually to the online offerings. While bidding online may push some prices up, pricing will be 70 percent off retail prices — as will be the case with the items being sold at the armory. MAC AIDS Fund, one of this year's sponsors, plans to match online sales up to $500,000.

In addition, from Nov. 16 to 18, shoppers who pay a $20 general admission fee and secure a slot during one of four sessions will be able to rifle through the racks of the current selections. Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Mulberry and Rag & Bone are among the labels that will be sold. There will also be plenty of apparel and accessories from up-and-coming designers. This element wasn't part of the 7th on Sale event in 2005, the last year it was held.

In total, this year's sale is expected to exceed $3.4 million — more than double what was raised the last time, Kolb said.To remind consumers that 7th on Sale is coming up, ads plugging the event have been placed on taxi roofs.

The event's founding sponsors, the CFDA Foundation and Vogue magazine, have been joined by returning sponsors eBay, Kenneth Cole Productions and Polo Ralph Lauren. MAC AIDS Fund, Marc Jacobs International and Topshop are the newest sponsors. Each is doing its part — Jacobs, for example, rounded up the international designers, and Cole designed the shopping bags, of which 29,000 have been produced.

There will also be a celebrity component. Jennifer Connelly is serving as the honorary chair, and Kate Bosworth will host the dessert portion of the gala, along with designer Thakoon Panichgul and Vogue's Meredith Melling Burke. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award winner and two runners-up will be announced during the gala.

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