As part of a unique partnership between the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program and the UC Davis Department of Design, fashion design students create a collection of red dresses to raise awareness that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. Each year in February, new designs are unveiled at the UC Davis Women’s Heart Care Education and Awareness Forum, which is held in Sacramento during National Heart Month.

Each dress represents the student's individual design aesthetics and personalities, while raising awareness that heart disease is the leading killer of women and encouraging heart-healthy lifestyles.

A unique union of health and creativity

Dr. Amparo Villablanca and Adele Zhang

UC Davis cardiologist  Amparo Villablanca launched the student red dress collection and the nation’s first program dedicated to women’s heart health. In her clinic and outreach, Dr. Villablanca educates women about the importance of thinking about their hearts — even in their 20s and 30s, because heart disease develops over the course of decades.

The dress designers are mentored by Adele Zhang, who teaches fashion and textile design in the UC Davis Department of Design and is the curator for the UC Davis Design Collection and Design Museum. With her multicultural background, industry and business experience, Zhang links wearable design with real-world applications.