The 15th Annual Red Dress Fashion Show and Health Fair celebrates red-hot fashion and healthy hearts like no one else.
For event organizers, the University of the Incarnate Word’s annual Red Dress event isn’t simply a college health fair or stylish soiree, it’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to celebrate women’s health in a uniquely UIW way. As home to five distinct professional health programs and Juren Sullivan Center for Fashion Management — the only fashion program of its kind in San Antonio – the Red Dress event brings together the expertise in both of those worlds to educate participants about heart health and inspire them to better care for themselves.
“Heart disease is the no. 1 killer of women, and we get to educate the community from all the different standpoints of our health professions programs,” said Dr. Lourdes Fortepiani, associate professor in the Rosenberg School of Optometry and UIW Red Dress Committee co-chair.
Students and staff from the nutrition program offer information about heart-healthy diets. Representatives from the School of Physical Therapy will discuss exercise and movement. Nursing students and faculty will test blood pressure and inform participants about heart disease prevention; to name a few.
“We want to give women information, tools and the guidance to live heart heathy lifestyles, and not just from the treatment point of view,” said Fortepiani. “The fashion show is another way we reach people; after all, the red dress is a symbol for the heart.”
Fashion program director Theresa Lopez challenged participating students to reflect on how their designs represents the heart. The crimson-hued dresses and pieces that populate the show are the result of countless hours of student work, informed by their fashion education and inspired by the spirit of the day. What’s more, the audience can digitally vote for the show’s best entries in real-time; an honor which comes with a prize, though that’s not the main motivator, Lopez stresses.
“We are here to appreciate our hearts and celebrate the creativity of the fashion students,” said Lopez. “Students have spent 30, 50, 100 hours creating these beautiful gowns. They are excited to see their designs on the runway, take part in a competition and participate in a national movement [the Go Red campaign].”
UIW fashion program students of all levels are participating, as are aspiring designers from San Antonio-area high schools. There, they can meet faculty, get to know campus and learn more about UIW’s exciting programs and how they make a difference in the community.
“It’s going to be a wonderful event,” she said.