Red Dress Fashion for Womens Heart Health

Annually, Jefferson fashion design junior students partner with the American Heart Association to create red dresses for the annual “Rock the Red Dress Fashion Show”. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this year’s Red Dress Fashion Show has been cancelled, but the outstanding message behind this campaign and the beautiful red dresses our students have created will live on.

“Go Red for Women is committed to making sure women know their risk for heart disease and stroke through healthy lifestyle education. As part of our yearlong  movement, we host the Rock the Red Fashion show featuring networking, education and fashion. Each year our supporters look forward to seeing the dozens of student designs from Thomas Jefferson University. These red dresses bring awareness to heart disease, the number 1 killer of women while providing students with the opportunity to showcase their hard work and talent.”

– Deena Weems Thornton, Go Red Director- Philadelphia

The Rock the Red Dress fashion show is part of the American Heart Association’s national “Go Red for Women” campaign. This campaign aims to promote women’s heart health, while providing educational insight on the dangers of heart disease. Junior level students in their fall semester design and construct the dresses in their Pattern Development II classes, whether that be in the studios of Thomas Jefferson University’s East Falls campus, or studying abroad in Rome.

For most, working with such an important organization, such as the American Heart Association, inspires students to develop deep, meaningful, and sometimes very personal concept direction behind their Red Dress designs. “Knowing that an organization like this not only supports us as designers but allows us to use our art to bring awareness to a much bigger and important issue is so incredible,” says fashion design student Kinley Lingenfelter, class of 2021. For her dress, Kinley took inspiration from her own family’s triumphs in overcoming health issues over the years to become even stronger. Students also take this opportunity to discuss issues they are passionate about. Brooke Kaplan (’21) feels that women’s mental health is another important facet of her overall well-being. “My research led me to discover the plight of women who fall victim to people with obsessive personalities,” Brooke explains. “In order to bring further awareness to women’s mental and physical health, I wanted to create a dress that embodied elegance and strength. Learning how to make my red dress come to life was truly a dream come true!”

Many students also look to the strong female figures in their life for inspiration. “All my life my idols and role models have been women, my mom being the biggest one,” says Lucas Circello (’21). “[My] dress is a homage to strong powerful women in historical context, in addition to cinematic depiction.” Cullen Dukes’ (’21) dress was not only inspired by, but also designed for his mother.

“Being raised by a single mom from the age of 2, I know the strength and power of women, of their hearts. So getting to design something that would be a part of this legacy between the school and AHA was exciting. Although we had to choose a recognizable muse, my true muse was my mother. I felt that my design had to reflect strength and power, clean lines and a strong silhouette because to me that is the true beauty of a woman. And, of course, the perfect red. The level of personal commitment each designer puts into their dress is evident when seeing some of the amazing results they can achieve through hard work and dedication.”

For many students, the Red Dress project is their first experience with evening-wear, which comes with its own set of challenges. With a color palette limited to red only, students must source their own fabrics, drape and perfect patterns, execute fittings on live models, and finally complete a beautifully constructed Red Dress look. Junior students studying abroad in Rome during this semester usually face their own set of unique challenges to the project, including a language barrier and adjusting to new surroundings. “Since I was in Rome, it was harder to source fabric in the exact shades and textures that I needed,” admits Taylor Millette, class of 2021. However, this added stress pays off as students in Rome are exposed to new fabric markets and materials they may not have easy access to in the US.  “I feel like I learned a lot more from changing around that stressful situation and I have a dress that I can really be proud of,” Taylor continues.

Below are photos of all of the red dresses selected for this year’s Go Red for Women: Rock the Red Dress fashion show. While the fashion show itself has been cancelled, we would still like to celebrate all of our junior fashion design students and congratulate them on their hard-work and determination in designing these looks for the American Heart Association.

Tahmya Alexander- “Joan of Arc”

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Rigid shantung structures are accented with gold topstitching and chain details

Tiany Brito- “Crisis”

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A hood of heavy satin sets off tonal layers of chiffon and tulle.

Lucas Circello- “Women in Power”

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A sweetheart bodice and ballgown skirt are carefully sculpted from silk satin and accented with tulle and chiffon.

Gillian Colwell- “The Horrors of a Nasty Woman”

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Metal chains form the sleeve and back detail on this structured dress in silk satin.

Taylor Crocker- “Queen of Hearts”

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Satin embroidery accents the lace detail of the skirt and the graceful sweetheart neckline.

Alexandra Dockter- “Blooming Gown”

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A satin gown is asymmetrically draped across the front bodice and accented with elegant tulle flowers.

Cullen Dukes- “Bloodshed”

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A full Dupioni silk skirt and satin dressmaker details reference crisp and precise tailoring.

Alessandra Filippone- “The Pieces of Us”

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A sheer bodice is overlaid with lace applique and paired with delicate chiffon skirts.

Morgan Fitzpatrick- “Carpino”

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This richly textured satin column features meandering pin tucks, deep front and back cowls and a sheer lace skirt.

Brooke Kaplan- “Obsessed, Much?”

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Lustrous satin is tailored into a high collared, full sleeve gown accented with chains and a shimmering mesh train.

Rebecca Kramer- “La Ballon Rouge”

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Curving layers of crochet and red satin are molded to form the ball gown skirt and a back laced corset.

Kinley Lingenfelter- “In the Red Under God”

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A fitted, embellished bodice flows into layered skirts of organza, satin, knit and cotton upholstery.

Yiqi Luo- “Red China”

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Red netting traced with gold accents a tonal red brocade dress trimmed with embroidered floral motifs.

Rebecca Meschler- “Red Angel”

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Diaphanous red mesh floats over a bodice of sparkling brocade and a luxuriously draped velvet pant.

McKenzi Migliorini- “A Soul Speaks in Flowers”

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Sheer cotton and organza contrasts with the rigidity of metal boning and black trim in this ball gown.

Taylor Millette- “Naturally Artificial”

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A sheer pleated bodice with hand crafted embellishments and embroidery on the slim skirt.

Tara Phifer- “Rise from the Ashes”

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A Peau de Soie gown with a sweeping train and floor length sleeves accented with feather details.

Sydney Strickler- “Dimensions”

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Pleated and draped stretch taffeta is layered over a heavily beaded lace bandeau and skirt.

Madeline Tumolo- “Theodora”

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A bodice featuring dimensional lace accents and voluminous chiffon sleeves paired with a sweeping satin skirt.

Jessica Ware- “At the Ballet”

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A diagonally ruched and beaded bodice sits atop a satin and ruffled mesh skirt.

Hope Worth- “Innocence vs. Sin”

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A satin bodice criss crossed with woven straps and a sheer chiffon skirt.




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