By  on July 25, 2007

Further proof there is no shortage of emerging American design talent, this year's 10 finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund are a diverse but well-rounded group, with women's, men's and accessories categories represented.The finalists, who were revealed on Tuesday, are Phillip Lim of 3.1 Phillip Lim; Erin Fetherston of Fetherston Design Group; Nunthirat Koi Suwannagate of Koi; Gabriel Asfour, Angela Donhauser and Adi Gil of Threeasfour; Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai of Vena Cava; Victoria Bartlett of VPL; Rogan Gregory of Rogan; Scott Sternberg of Band of Outsiders; Michael Bastian, and Philip Crangi of Philip Crangi Jewelry.The fund, which was founded in 2003 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue magazine, offers emerging talents a cash prize and mentorship programs by top industry leaders. This year, it received 101 applications, the same number of entries as last year."It was probably one of the strongest list of candidates since we started, and really a difficult process to select only 10," said Steven Kolb, executive director of the CFDA. "If there was an opportunity to add another three to five, we could have easily done that."The fund's selection committee is scheduled to meet with each finalist next month to review their most recent work. The selection committee consists of CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg; Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour; Andrew Rosen, president and founder of Theory; Patrick Robinson, executive vice president of design at Gap Inc.; Reed Krakoff, president and executive vice president of design at Coach Inc.; Jeffrey Kalinsky, president of Jeffrey New York and Jeffrey Atlanta, who also has a senior fashion role at Nordstrom Inc.; Julie Gilhart, vice president and fashion director of Barneys New York; CFDA's Kolb and its associate director, Lisa Smilor, and Vogue fashion news director Sally Singer.The winner, to be revealed at the 7th on Sale kickoff gala on Nov. 15, will receive a monetary award of $200,000. The two runners-up will receive $50,000 each. All three recipients will be assigned a mentor and receive a year's worth of managerial guidance and support from a top industry executive.For the first time this year, there also will be a separate business advisory committee, which will review the applications independent of the selection committee. It consists of Paul Aberasturi, Diane von Furstenberg's chief financial officer; Richard Baker, NRDC Equity Partners' president and ceo; David McTague, executive vice president of Liz Claiborne Inc.'s partnered brands division; Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein Inc., and Stephen Ruzow, president of the Calvin Klein bridge and better women's sportswear division at Kellwood Co., who will be the committee's chairman. This committee also will be available to informally mentor the remaining seven finalists, as well as the 30 alums of the fund, for the year."It's a way for us to engage more people and expertise," Kolb said. "Everyone always says that the mentoring is such an important piece. It's another way to demonstrate the seriousness and importance of the fund." The fund is sponsored by partner Gap and underwriters Barneys New York, Coach, Juicy Couture, L'Oreal Paris, Nordstrom, Theory, Lord & Taylor, Kellwood, Liz Claiborne and Vogue, as well as donors Mulberry, Diane von Furstenberg and Tommy Hilfiger.

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