“Being able to showcase their talents during the industry’s most important and exciting time of year is an impressive milestone to reach so early in their careers,” says Jefferson Fashion Design Professor Carly Kusy, noting Heidebrecht and Watt had the only student collections featured at the Sept. 7 Designers’ Premier show in the Stewart Hotel.
During Watt’s freshman year, her father passed away from tongue and lung cancer. She used her deeply personal “Leftovers” collection to bring a message of optimism to the often-difficult subject of grief. For example, Watt transferred the encouraging words her dad received as he underwent treatment to the fabric in a few pieces.
“You truly can’t put into words the overwhelming waves of emotions Tommy and I felt,” Watt shares. “The purest moment happened backstage when we watched our lines walk down the runway on the microwaved-sized monitor. We were like kids on Christmas, giving each other a big bear hug as anxiousness and relief filled our bodies.”
Being able to showcase their talents during the industry’s most important and exciting time of year is an impressive milestone to reach so early in their careers.
—Fashion Design Professor Carly Kusy
Heidebrecht’s “FlamBOYant” collection centered around the flamboyance of birds of paradise and notions of masculinity past and present. With the pieces, he wanted to explore how men have adorned themselves throughout history and “what it means to dress like and be a man,” he says.
“I was so fortunate to have my family and friends there to see this incredible opportunity unfold,” says Heidebrecht, who also won a fashion design challenge on Good Morning America while at Jefferson. “The experience just reaffirmed how much can be accomplished with hard work, preparation and being surrounded by people who support you.”
Along with fashion industry leaders, media and influencers in the audience, Jefferson fashion design and fashion merchandising and management sophomores and faculty attended the Designers’ Premier show as part of the University’s popular New York immersion course. Over the weekend, the students saw additional New York Fashion Week shows, visited retailers, toured the Metropolitan Museum of Art and met with professionals at PVH and other leading firms.