Written by Mary Margaret Lyle

Hemline for Hearts is back in a big way. The design competition and service learning project benefits the American Heart Association-Triangle (AHA) and calls attention to the organization’s Go Red for Women campaign, a national movement to end heart disease and strokes in women. Hemline for Hearts kicked off this fall and will be the event’s second year, with hopes to engage the community and University even further.

In the same fashion as last year, 16 NC State Wilson College of Textiles students from FTM 315: Fashion Product Design were asked during the Fall semester to create designs for dresses fully made of red paper hearts. Based on the sketches, six of the students were selected by representatives from the AHA. These designers will compete in a live “Project Runway” style competition at Crabtree Valley Mall on Feb. 3, where they will bring their dresses to life in just four hours.

The winning designers are:

  • Samantha Gaddy, Fashion and Textile Management, junior
  • Peyton Henderson, Fashion and textile Management, sophomore
  • Suri Martinez, Fashion and Textile Management, sophomore
  • Grace Murray, Fashion and Textile Management, sophomore
  • Kate Puricz, Fashion and Textile Management, sophomore
  • Amelia Steinman, Fashion and Textile Management, sophomore

While heart disease takes the life of one in three women, the goal of the event is to  spread awareness that it is 80 percent preventable through lifestyle changes. This year Hemline for Hearts will be combined with an AHA free annual heart health screening event. “We think the combination of fashion, fun and driving women to know their numbers and take charge of their health will be a win-win,” says Sloan Garner, regional vice president of the AHA.

Garner worked collaboratively with Wilson College of Textiles professors Minyoung Suh and Delisia Matthews. Suh teaches FTM 315 Fashion Product Design, and Matthews teaches FTM 387 Textile Brand Communications and Promotions. Suh’s students competed on the design side while students in Matthews’ class competed to develop the competition’s marketing and branding campaign via print advertisements and social media. 

The marketing and branding team selected to promote the event includes:
Gentry Anderson, Fashion and Textile Management, senior
Cortland Billow, Fashion Textile Management, senior
Leigh Debevec, Fashion and Textile Management, senior
Sara Lewis, Fashion and Textile Management, junior
Hannah Penley, Fashion and Textile Management, senior
Reina Robinson, Fashion and Textile Management, senior

Both Suh and Matthews are looking forward to another successful year of seeing their student’s give back in order to raise awareness for heart disease in women.

The student’s involvement in this event is important because it allows students to engage with the community. By partnering with the American Heart Association, it increases their social awareness and responsibility.  This event is especially important as it allows them to give back to the community by exhibiting the skills and talents they have learned within our Wilson College of Textiles academic programs,” says Matthews.  

To help inspire and educate all of the competitors, Garner brought heart attack survivor Shanelle Dawes to the College to speak with both of the classes. Dawes had a heart attack as a young mother, and now shares her story and the importance of always listening to your body and never thinking it can’t happen to you.  

Hemline for Hearts seeks to meet and exceed the excellence of last year’s event, showcasing the hard work of Textiles students as well as raising funds for female-focused heart disease research. It is a win for both the College and the AHA. “It has been a great experience to work with the NC State Textiles students, faculty and the community to bring Hemline for Hearts to life.  We are excited to see what this February’s competition will bring,” says Garner.

This year, there will be an additional component of the competition. “A design from a Textile Design student will also be selected to adorn a small number of limited-edition scarves that will be exclusive gift for donors at the Triangle Go Red For Women luncheon in May,” explains Garner.

The live competition will take place from 11 to 3 p.m. Feb. 3, in the first floor promotional court at Crabtree Valley Mall. Judging and announcement of winners by a panel of local celebrity judges will take place from 3:30 to 4 p.m. There will also be a Fan Favorite Category. During the event, the public can make donations, and the names of the donors or survivors will be written on red hearts and incorporated into the dress designs in real time.

For more information about Go Red For Women and heart disease prevention visit GoRedForWomen.org or contact your local American Heart Association at 919-463-8300.