U.S. Navy veteran Daniel Michael Hyacinthe observed how returning wounded veterans had no place to express themselves creatively. That’s when he met artist and designer, Tyler Way. Together, the two could see that the remarkable stories of survival and resilience these U.S. Veterans had to tell simply weren’t being heard, and they felt the need to do something about it.
Their opportunity came when Hyacinthe was approached at a local Veterans event by a former U.S. Marine who was paralyzed and rendered speechless by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq. Through his nurse and communicator, they discovered that the 20-something year old male had always wanted to create a t-shirt. Due to his severe injuries, the solution came to Hyacinthe to pair the wounded veteran with Way, in order to act as his arms, legs, and hands to create the shirt design he always wanted but was physically unable to. Through a variety of “Yes” or “No” questions, Way gradually began to understand this hero’s story and desired message behind his design. Utilizing the alphanumeric communication code, the two were able to finalize a t-shirt design that instantly became a walking billboard for this hero’s inspiring story. This pairing of a wounded Hero with an Artist sparked what would evolve into the HERO[series].
Soon thereafter, the non-profit, [Fashion Has Heart], began the annual HERO[series] Design Week. Each year, [FHH] invites five wounded Heroes, one from each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, to Grand Rapids, MI, to collaborate with their designated Artist partner(s). The result: fashion products that embody the personal struggles and triumphs of these Veterans translated in a way that the average U.S. citizen can better connect to and relate with — ultimately acting as a bridge between these two different worlds of soldiers and citizens.
[FHH] utilizes these powerful mediums of art, design, and fashion to benefit the wounded men and women who have sacrificed for their country’s freedoms. Proceeds from the designed products benefit the Heroes and the organization to further this mission of unleashing the power of creativity as a form of therapy as well as means of support.
Without their sacrifice, there is no freedom of ______.