Open Your Heart — designed and modeled by Ching-Ju Lo

Designer and model: Ching-Ju Lo.
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Designer’s statement: I named my red dress “Open Your Heart,” hoping to inspire people to approach life and health with passion and an open heart.

The exterior design is a simple yet elegant red carpet dress, suitable for almost any social gathering. The interior incorporates an abstract heart painting on silk that I designed two years ago. I painted it entirely freehand with no rough preliminary sketch, because I wanted to express myself through warm, vibrant watercolors without knowing how the picture would evolve.

My intention was to give women the confidence to express themselves and live with passion, while maintaining ties to the central theme of combating heart disease. In this regard, I was careful to focus on elegance and femininity in the design so that the message can be expressed with both clarity and beauty.

The warm shade of red also goes well beyond symbolizing the heart. It exemplifies courage and the power of self-determination. In Eastern cultures, red can symbolize both good luck and purity. In most cultures, it also is the color most associated with passion.

In creating greater awareness of heart disease in women, my fondest wish is that the wearer of this dress will feel purer of heart both metaphorically and literally. This dress is beautiful enough to be worn anywhere, while still subtly conveying the important marriage of design and heart health for all women.


Palpitations — designed and modeled by Christine Ota

Designer and model: Christine Ota.
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Designer’s statement: Heart palpitations can be described as a racing or fluttering of the heartbeat. It may represent an abnormality in the rhythm of the heart. When dancing, staying in rhythm and timing movements is key.

Dancers of the 1930s film industry such as Ginger Rogers were able to accentuate movement and rhythm through the lines created by their gowns. In particular, bias-cut gowns were featured in these films and dances because of the flexibility they offered the designers.

“Palpitations” is a bias-cut gown that embodies the movement of a dancer. Its origami-heart train flutters with movement, in an unorganized fashion. The train is inspired by the fluttering of hearts, or palpitations. Although it highlights a scarier abnormality of the heart, the gown embraces the beauty of movement and the beauty that may come from the irregular.


Matters of the Heart — designed and modeled by Alma Monsisvais

Designer and model: Alma Monsisvais. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: “Matters of the Heart” represents the confident, determined and energetic women of modern times, yet the eccentric design was highly inspired by the clothing worn by great Roman and Greek women.

The objective of this dress is to raise consciousness and awareness of heart disease. Many people believe that colors possess healing powers and that red holds the property to stimulate low pressure. Red is the heart, as is the color of this dress.

I chose a circular metal ring and carefully located it on the left upper part of bodice where the heart is to represent life and the importance of taking care of our health. Metal is strong, as should be our heart’s life. The circular metal is symbolic as it ties in all the aspects of the dress just as the matters of the heart, which embodies all the organs within our bodies.

Organza pleats in the front and back of the dress branch out from the ring represent our body’s circulatory system. The shimmery glitter of the organza fabric represents the millions of cells that course through our body.

This elegant design shows the vibrant life of a strong heart and emphasizes the beauty of it in its natural state that must be maintained through health care.


Vena Cavae — designed and modeled by Manilette Uy

Designer and model: Manilette Uy.
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Designer’s statement: My dress is inspired by the vena cavae, large veins that return blood from the body back to the heart. Their long, tubular shapes inspired the pleats along the bodice.

The sash symbolizes the blood that flows within these veins. The asymmetrical front is inspired by the heart's irregular shape. The heart's anatomy has many layers and intricate parts, which should be kept as healthy as possible.



Découvrir — designed and modeled by Rong Ben

Designer and model: Rong Ben.
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Designer’s statement: This dress is inspired by kaleidoscope — a very fun toy because looking into it reveals various visual experiences. I want to bring this fun element to my garment, portraying many possibilities while making it both functional and playful. It can be worn at a formal event or a crazy runway show.

“Découvrir” means “discover.” Just like you never know what it is inside the kaleidoscope unless you take a closer look, there is no way to discover heart disease unless we put effort into it.

To raise attention to heart disease, I used shiny fabric inside of the top of the dress, mimicking the pattern of arteries. Opening this top layer reveals how arteries flow inside the body. Taking a closer look at heart disease just as this dress allows helps us care more about people who suffer from it and provides hope that they can improve both mentally and physically.


Blooming Red — designed by Dat Vo and modeled by Joyce Wong

Designer: Dat Vo, and model: Joyce Wong.
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Designer’s statement: As spring approaches, flowers sprung from the ground and begin to bloom. It means that the cold, harsh winter is over and that it is time to start anew.

My inspiration came from a blooming rose.

The bodice of the dress is decorated with overlapping rose petals to mimic a fully bloomed rose while the lower part of the dress portrays protruding pleats, which imitates the thorns of a rose.

I wanted my dress to remind people that after every winter, comes spring. I wanted “Blooming Red” to signify hope for preventing and fighting heart disease.


Baccara — designed and modeled by Claudia Chang

Designer and model: Claudia Chang.
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Designer’s statement: The baccara rose, also known as the black rose, was the inspiration for this dress. ¬This rose is a deep blood red with a velvety black sheen. The train of the dress mimics the rich and unique color of the baccarat, and its pleats represents its petals. The overall color is a dark red like the blood that flows through the veins and pumped by the heart.

The baccara represents cardiovascular disease through its multiple meanings. Heart disease is the number one cause of death to women in U.S. The first meanings are “farewell” and “death,” which are the unfortunate realities of many cases of heart disease.

The baccara also means undying love and extreme passion. These qualities are what we believe our hearts are can do. We believe strong emotions such as love and the will to fight come from our hearts.

Lastly, the baccara means “rebirth,” “new beginning” and “rejuvenation.” There is hope for those who suffer from cardiovascular disease. Prevention, treatment and fighting back with the help of loved ones can  lead to rejuvenation, a stronger heart and a new beginning.


Capillaries — designed by Jason Lin and modeled by Navdeesh Atwal

Designer Jason Lin, and model: Navdeesh Atwal.
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Designer’s statement: My dress directly takes inspiration from the network of capillaries, which run through our entire body. These blood vessels help circulate and exchange oxygen and nutrients between blood and tissue.

When a person bleeds, a blood clot will form. I found a lot of inspiration and beauty from microscopic images of blood clots. Also known as a thrombus, this mesh of cells is actually a healthy response to bleeding; it stops blood flow when someone is injured. At the same time, this mesh of cells can cause a stroke.

My dress hopes to highlight the positive elements and beauty in things as tragic as strokes and heart disease. People with cardiovascular diseases often find encouragement and strength through social support networks built around helping individuals suffering from heart disease.

My dress represents this network of support.

The T-shirts used to create the net surrounding the body were all donated by friends and family. They create a new life for what was seemingly old and unwanted. It serves a sustainable purpose, as well as offering a bright outlook on the future.


Valentina — designed and modeled by Katelyn Buccinio

Designer and model: Katelyn Buccinio.
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Designer’s statement: “Valentina” is a unique garment that brings awareness to heart disease as the leading cause of death in women through its color and structure. A knee-length red cotton dress with thin layers of red chiffon draped from shoulder to hem, “Valentina” embodies its message prominently through its structure. Layers of chiffon wrap around the body from the left shoulder of the
wearer and the right hip, ending at the left hemline. The wrapping of fabric symbolizes veins and the movement of blood throughout the body that ultimately ends at the heart. This feature stands out to the observer due to the differentiation in fabrics — from the red chiffon that drapes around the body to the red cotton that stands as the base of the dress.

Although these fabrics may have different properties that create a different look to the garment, the color is the same, demonstrating its relevance to the context this dress portrays. The color red is often associated with the heart and the blood that pumps through the heart. Therefore, the use of red fabrics for the entirety of this dress draws a connection between the dress and the message being portrayed.

Through these different design elements, “Valentina” — Italian for “brave” — embodies the strength, bravery and confidence that goes into fighting a disease such as heart disease


Heart Circuit — designed and modeled by Katherine Ta

Designer and model: Katherine Ta.
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Designer’s statement: In a computer system, the motherboard is the foundation of the whole. It serves to hold and connect many of the most crucial parts together in order for the system to be functional. Therefore, the motherboard plays a very important role within the computer system.

The human heart functions for the body similar to way the motherboard functions for the computer. Many people know how fragile technology is, but they do not handle their bodies in the same careful manner as they would a brand new laptop.

Through this analogy, the weaving heart symbolized an 8-bit heart, while also symbolizing the interweaving arteries. The gold signifies the dynamic directions of the circulatory system in the body, as well as the design on the motherboard.

I want my dress to bring attention to the fact that the heart is as fragile as a motherboard and serve as a reminder of the importance of taking care of one’s body.


Roses Red — designed and modeled by Lisa Romero

Designer and model: Lisa Romero.
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Designer’s statement: This garment seeks to bring awareness to heart disease and empower women through fashion.

The inspiration for this gown was the Queen of Hearts and her garden of red-painted roses. The rose and heart are synonymous with the Queen of Hearts: both are symbols of power, strength and love.

While symbols of strength, the human heart and flora like roses are delicate in nature. It is important to take care of one’s heart and keep it strong through healthy living. A flower cannot thrive without the proper attention to its needs, and neither can a heart.

Looking at the design details of my gown, I wanted it to exude a sense of authority and grace. The bodice has a sweetheart neckline to incorporate the abstract version of a heart. The neckline is outlined with ruffles to allude to the intricate structure of the human heart and the petals of a rose. The chiffon train of the skirt has gathered fabric flowers to integrate the floral element. The structural elements of the dress symbolizes strength, while the draped chiffon detailing embodies delicacy.

Both components work together to create one cohesive garment: a harmonious balance between hard and soft elements.