About

Photos: Visnja during her modeling days

Photos: Visnja during her modeling days

Welcome to Visnja Clayton’s collection.   Visnja lives in upstate New York with her husband and an energetic papillon.  She does the pattern and sample making there and the sewing is done a few hours away in New York City.  She likes clothes that are comfortable and pretty.  The look of the clothes is inspired mostly by beautiful fabrics. Visnja really loves linen and sources most of the linen from Italy. 

Visnja’s first fashion statement was an insistence on a lighter shade of blue than ever previously allowed in the drab public school uniforms that she was forced to wear in her homeland of Croatia. Her mother custom-made the uniform to Visnja’s specifications. A fashion designer was born. Visnja made her first dress at age twelve, shortly after she and her family moved to the United States. In high school in Rochester, New York, Visnja won many awards for her artwork. Her mother, who encouraged Visnja to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, always nurtured her aesthetic sensibilities. At F.I.T., Visnja majored in apparel design and created swimwear, daywear, tailored clothing, active sportswear, evening and menswear. Visnja graduated with honors in 1981 and moved to Italy to take a position as an assistant designer of sportswear with FILA of Milan. Visnja returned to New York in 1982 to broaden her experience by working as an assistant designer for Carla Leathers, a producer of high fashion leather garments. She then joined EccoBay Sportswear as head designer. In 1983, Visnja accepted an offer to join Marc Bouwer Ltd. as Mr. Bouwer’s chief design assistant. For two years Visnja oversaw the design and production of the Bouwer line of eveningwear and personally served the needs of such specialty clients as Raquel Welch, Boy George, Morgan Fairchild, and Diana Ross. At Bouwer, Visnja was also involved in costume design for several Broadway Productions. Mr. Bouwer surprised Visnja by sometimes taking her away from the design table to make her the lead model for the company’s new creations. This led Visnja to accept occasional modeling requests form other designers such as Liz Claiborne, Bill Blass, Valentino and Christie Brinkley Sportswear. Her modeling experience taught her a great deal about the design successes and failures of today’s fashions. “Actually wearing the clothes”, says Visnja, “is the best lesson in what works in terms of fit, comfort and style.”In 1985 Visnja, feeling her training complete, amicably left Marc Bouwer Ltd. to launch her own company simply called “Visnja”. This line consisted mainly of women’s couture eveningwear. Although the customers consisted mostly of private clientele, David Cameron, a hot new fashion designer on Seventh Avenue, noticed Visnja’s design abilities. He recruited her to work as his assistant and muse, where she remained until 1987. In 1991 Visnja received a degree in Film and Television Production from New York University and spent years working as a costume designer. 

Contact: visnja@visnjaclayton.com