Next level designs

From Montreal to Phoenix to New York, student lands opportunities in a fashion powerhouse


Woman making clothing design with thread

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the summer 2023 issue of ASU Thrive magazine.

Heidi Stierli knew from a young age that she wanted to create striking outfits that last, so she did her research on fashion programs around the country. She eventually chose to attend ASU.   

Because of the reputation of the program, Stierli, ’23 BA fashion, from Montreal, Canada, selected the university over renowned schools in San Francisco.

“With fashion, my dream is to go into the vintage world, working with famous vintage collectors, putting on events showcasing these treasures,” she says. In addition, “I love painting pottery and canvases in my free time, and also upcycling clothing, thrift shopping and vintage clothing.”

Her biggest passion is ensuring that the clothing she makes lasts, that it can work from season to season and accentuate a wardrobe for years. And she says that ASU has helped her pave her career in this competitive field.

Fashion student stands next to a model wearing her design

A component of the ASU fashion program and a key differentiator, Stierli says, is teaching students to work with Optitex, an end-to-end fashion design software including 2D CAD/CAM pattern design and 3D prototyping.

She was a student-worker in the fashion program from January 2022 until her graduation and credits her mentorship of students with helping her take her designs to an entirely new level. “I work with students helping them solve the problems they encounter in their designs. ASU students are a bunch of amazing, creative, innovative artists,” she says.

One of her biggest opportunities came through an alumna of the program. Claire Cohan, ’21 BA in fashion, helped Stierli land an internship in New York City at the American Dream Team Network International. The fashion powerhouse does licensing of designs, garment production and sends its imports around the world. Stierli says that this internship will open up numerous opportunities in her career.

And, she gets to live and work in New York City, an international fashion center.

Models walking down a runway

Heidi Stierli shows off her clothing designs at a fashion show.

“I don’t think I would have been ready for New York City without ASU’s fashion program,” she says. “It provided me with confidence and a robust skill set.”

She adds, “The fashion program at ASU is so strong because of the professors and faculty, such as Victoria Cook, a role model in pattern making for me, and Irina Tevzadze, who helped me learn what it will be like in the industry.” 

Cook, the lead pattern maker, and instructor of Design I and II, has owned her own pattern making business for more than a decade. Tevzadze, a clinical assistant professor, created and internationally showcased numerous collections of womenswear, childrenswear and accessories, and designed collections for high-profile European fashion houses. 

RELATED: ASU expands fashion program, embraces legacy of Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

Learn more at asufidm.asu.edu.

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