Written by Michelle Kerstein, Fashion and Textile Management student

Hemline for Hearts, the service learning design competition, took place on February 16 in Crabtree Valley Mall for its third annual run. Students from the Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management (TATM) at the Wilson College of Textiles worked with the American Heart Association (AHA) to support the organization’s “Go Red for Women” campaign. It aims to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke in women. According to Justine Andrews, the marketing and communications director at AHA, heart disease is the number one killer of women. By educating a wider audience and providing free health screenings at the event, Hemline for Hearts made information and care accessible, easy and approachable.

The event drew talent from two classes at Wilson College: Textile Brand Communications and Promotions, taught by Dr. Delisia Matthews, and Fashion Product Design, taught by Dr. Minyoung Suh. After developing a marketing and social media plan and pitching it to AHA, six Fashion and Textile Management (FTM) Brand Management and Marketing students were chosen to work hand-in-hand with AHA’s marketing team to promote the event. The team was composed of the following students:

  • Florecita Cruz Canseco, Fashion and Textile Management
  • Alex Garlick, Fashion and Textile Management
  • Mary Afuye, Fashion and Textile Management
  • Mandisa Ebri, Fashion and Textile Management
  • Julia Sherman, Fashion and Textile Management
  • Valerie Xie, Fashion and Textile Management

These students applied the promotional tactics and strategies they learned in class to creatively plan, promote, and execute the event. Matthews explained why their participation is important. “The student’s involvement in this event is important because it allows students to engage with the community,” she said. “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.”

FTM Product Development students played a very important role as competitors in Hemline for Hearts. To prepare, students read stories from people with heart disease and created designs inspired by them. After pitching their designs, six students were selected to create their designs during the event. The competitors were:

  • Sydney Begg,Fashion and Textile Management
  • Jennifer Clark, Fashion and Textile Management
  • Kate Milano, Textile Engineering
  • Samantha Young, Fashion and Textile Management
  • Grace Pang,Fashion and Textile Management
  • Megan Lanier,Fashion and Textile Management

The designers, in a Project Runway-esque challenge, used paper hearts instead of fabrics to complete their dresses. This unique task required students to use their creativity and problem solving skills. Suh, dazzled by their work, said, “I am personally so impressed to see how students approach it differently every year to achieve their design with papers!”

Hemline for Hearts is both fun for participants and impactful. Justine Andrews discussed the importance of the event:

“This partnership with Wilson College allows the American Heart Association to bring up the subject of heart disease with a younger and wider audience. Women are having more cardiac events at younger ages. It’s important to raise awareness of this so that women take their heart health seriously, including knowing the symptoms of heart attacks and making healthy lifestyle changes.”

This year and for more years to come, Hemline for Hearts will be an opportunity for students to give back and participate in an initiative with heart.