The Power of Red in Design
2015 Red dress collection unveiled at benefit

L to R: Dennis Liu (designer), Adele Zhang, Chancellor Katehi, Theresa Pasion (model and also Dr. Villablanca's student, who majored in Biological Science)Designers and the Chancellor (L to R: Judy Wu, Heaji Richards, Chancellor, Betty Chen, Susan Huey)

February is National Heart Health Month. The Red Dress is the national symbol for raising awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of women in the nation. Since 2010, every February, Design students showcase their own red dress designs as a metaphor to tell stories about what they have learned about heart disease, encourage a younger generation to become aware of the importance of heart health and to practice prevention by leading a healthy lifestyle. 

On the 28th of February, a team of 12 students unveiled the 2015 Red Dress Collection at “The Power of Red: Cocktails and Couture,” a benefit for the UC Davis Women’s Heart Health Program, hosted by Chancellor Katehi at Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. Read Linda Katehi’s thoughts about the dress collection and heart health, in her March 13, 2015 post on Maria Shriver’s blog.

By modeling their own dresses on stage, the students designers demonstrated their talent and energy through these symbolic dresses. Each dress is a visual interpretation of a young designer’s heart health story and heart disease prevention message.

For the first time this year,  two heart disease patients joined the design team to model the customized dresses created by four Design seniors. Students Betty Chen, Heaji Richards, Jenny Chen and Judy Wu interviewed the patients and then translated their personal experience and physical needs into design elements to apply on wearable objects. This project provides a platform for our students to work with real clients and practice design in reality while having a positive impact on social issues. 

Click the link to see pictures of the dresses, designer statements and model information for the 2015 Red Dress Collection.

2015 marks the sixth anniversary of the partnership between Dr. Villablanca, director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program, and Adele Zhang, Department of Design, in developing the UC Davis Red Dress Collection. This is the second year to include a fashion show at The Power of Red event, to raise funds for research and to bring awareness of the importance of heart health to the entire UC Davis campus.

Fighting heart disease takes inspiration and commitment. Doctors research the cure, while designers bring positive inspiration to our lives. The UC Davis Red Dress Collection is a tangible example of how the value of design is delivered by making and doing beyond classrooms and studios. This is the power of RED in design. 

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Red Dress: Design Stories for Heart Health

The Red Dress® is the national symbol for raising awareness of heart disease as the leading killer of women. Cardiovascular disease kills a woman every minute, more than all cancers combined, yet is largely preventable through the adoption of healthy lifestyles.

In 2010, the Department of Design entered into a unique partnership with the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program to campaign for women’s heart health awareness. This exhibition showcases 18 red dresses from the UC Davis Red Dress Collection created by design students.

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