GROWTH SPURT: Many new designers showed at the eighth edition of the Americans in Paris program, created by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue.

Last year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund runner-up Ryan Roche, attending for the first time, was still buzzing from being selected as a semi-finalist for the LVMH Prize last month and showing her designs to the expert jury in Paris last week.

“A lot has changed for me in the past six months,” said Roche. “It’s been like a whirlwind.”

Spotted at her stand, Macy’s group vice president and fashion director, global forecasting Nicole Fischelis enthused about the rising designer. “Her stuff is very beautiful,” she said.

Designers who had been to the event before said it was more bustling than ever and praised the addition of a café and comfortable seating areas that allowed them to conduct meetings in situ.

Jewelry designer Jennifer Fisher, a Fashion Fund finalist three years ago, was attending Americans in Paris for the third time.

“Part of the reason my business has grown, I believe, is out of the contacts I made my first time being here. I had no connections,” she said.

After opening her first boutique in New York late last year, Fisher is now looking for international expansion.

Edie Parker founder and creative director Brett Heyman said she had seen lots of existing retailers from both the U.S. and abroad, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Lane Crawford and Matches, but was also on the lookout for new accounts.

“I have some dream shops. I love The Corner in Berlin, LuisaViaRoma, Montaigne Market, Colette,” she said.

Gigi Burris, founder and designer of Gigi Burris Millinery, said her product was resonating with European buyers, notably from the U.K.

“I feel that Europe is a bit more receptive to some of the millinery,” she said.

Her quirky hats and headgear are already sold at Kirna Zabete, The Webster and Colette, and have been picked up by Neiman Marcus Direct for pre-fall, she said.

Currently working alone to create her designs, Burris said she hopes to take on staff soon to continue growing her fledgling business.

The 10 designers and labels present at the event, which closed its three-day run on Monday, are all former CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists.

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