Project Red takes student fashion ‘pulse’

Campus fashion show educates students on heart health

(Left to Right) Ishta Xavier, Lindsey Soon, Cassidy Timlin, Jessica Somersall.
Credit: 
Photo supplied by Natalie Shaw

Project Red is working to make heart health fashionable. 

This Friday, the organization is hosting its annual fashion show in Grant Hall to raise awareness and donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. In its ninth year at Queen’s, Project Red also aims to educate students on the dangers of heart disease and unhealthy habits.

Using student skills in fashion, dance, and videography throughout the night, Project Red’s hope is to attract enough students to meet their top donation goal of $30,000.

Last year, they raised enough to write a cheque—which was signed and delivered onstage—for $25,000. With an aim to at least meet the same amount, they hope to raise more. 

“We’re hoping to raise $30,000 if the sales go as projected, but we definitely don’t want to go below $25,000,” co-director Natalie Shaw, ArtSci ’19, told The Journal. “We want to keep getting bigger and better every year just to make the people who started this club proud.” 

Reflecting on Project Red’s success throughout the years, Shaw said the event is rewarding despite the hard work. This year, she managed a team with up to 12 sub-committees. Being a co-director, she said the hiring was an inspiring process. 

“When you go to meetings or a model or dance practice, you walk in and see people from different walks of life interacting. It’s neat to see everyone become friends and look out for one another,” Shaw said. 

When hiring creative director, Tamam Fadhil, ArtSci ’19, Shaw said his confidence and commitment to achieving a creative vision from the start. 

“I had no idea he had a creative bone in his body. When he came to his interview with all these ideas, I said I loved them and asked if he could make them come to life and he said, ‘Watch me do it,’” Shaw said. “Now he’s been taking this whole year by storm.” 

Shaw credits the success of Project Red to the hardworking and talented students who apply each year. She said that without their dedication to important causes—like student health—Project Red wouldn’t be able to support the Heart and Stroke Foundation to the extent they do. 

Part of the appeal is each year’s unique theme. This year, it’s “Pulse.” 

Starting at 7:30 p.m., the show’s is a celebration of life. Not through the physical appearance of models—as is typical with fashion shows—but by exploring how our bodies function. 

Shaw says the show will start with a genesis stage, followed by an adolescence, maturity, and rebirth stage. This year’s emphasis is on celebrating our health and the bodies that take us through so many experiences. 

“This year, more so than ever we’re focusing on appreciating our bodies for the fact they allow us to be in the world, rather than getting upset [they don’t] look a certain way,” Shaw said. 

The event is relevant on a university campus, Shaw said, despite the common perception that heart disease is an older person’s problem. 

She added Project Red works hard to educate people throughout the year, not just at their fashion shows, about how heart disease is also a young person’s issue. Many womendon’t know that birth control affects your heart function, and smoking while on the pill can worsen the problem dramatically. 

“I think it’s important to educate people and make sure they’re aware of how important it is,” Shaw said. 

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