Dutch-born designer Ilja Visser first launched her namesake couture collection in 2005. International recognition came after Ilja showed her collection at Amsterdam Fashion week; this marked the official stepping-stone in her career. In 2009 she established her fashion house, bringing all levels of her business, including a brand store with private fitting rooms, under one roof in Amsterdam’s historic canal district.
In 2011 Ilja Visser is the first designer to receive the prestigious Dutch annual fashion stipendium from the Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation. ILJA makes her official debut in the highest fashion league when she got invited by the Fédération Française de la Couture in Paris to present her FW 16 couture collection INGENIUM EXISTERE on their official haute couture calendar. This collection was all about how our reality is made out of microscopic geometric shapes and proportions.
In 2021 Ilja Visser launched her Ready to wear label under the same name. Affordable pieces with a wink to her signature, where interesting contrasts are used to constituent the appearance of materials. Paramount is the insurance of optimal comfort and fashionable wearability.
“In 2021 ILJA moved to Dubai to explore opportunities in the U.A.E. ILJA is a complement to contemporary women. We are professionals, wives, mothers, friends, gifted with talents and dreams to accomplish, and all that in the midst of a storm of hormones and a world that, at times, seems full of madness. I want women to be unapologetic, acting on their strength, and comfortable with their own beauty.”
- Ilja Visser -
- Internships at Donna Karan and Maria Cornejo in New York City.
- Ilja graduates from School of Arts (ARTEZ) in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
2002 - 2007
- Sales and marketing experience in multibrand showroom in The Netherlands.
2007 - 2008
- Ilja started her sole proprietorship Ilja Visser Labeling and experienced her first fashion shows at Amsterdam and Antwerp Fashion Week.
- Ilja establishes her fashion house Ilja Visser Holding.
- Launch of Ready to Fish label.
- Launch of ILJA couture.
- January: Show at Amsterdam International Fashion Week.
- July: Show at Amsterdam International Fashion Week.
- January: Show at Amsterdam International Fashion Week.
- July: Show ‘Pluche’ at the HQ.
- January: Show ‘Hyperborea’ at Amsterdam International Fashion Week.
- July: Show ‘Skinfonie’ at the HQ
- January: Tableau Vivant ‘Ikebana’ at the HQ.
- October: Ilja debutes in Paris with ‘Ikebana’
- June: Exhibition ‘Ceasurea' in Galleries Lafayette Haussmann in Paris
- July: Tableau Vivant ‘Lumina’ in Paris.
- ILJA debuts in the highest Fashion League in Paris.
- Reshaping of Ilja Visser
Holding: Ilja buys the company back from the initial investor, freezing all
ready-to-wear activities and full focus on haute couture only.
- Startup both couture and RTW activities in the new company
- Giving shares to new investors in exchange for their investment.
- Launch the ILJA Ready to Wear collection.
- Launch of first NFT ABAYA Collection..
- Bringing Ilja Visser brand in Metaverse.
- Consulting for companies on a design, product buying, and strategic level.
OFFICIAL HAUTE COUTURE CALENDAR
Visser was born and raised in IJsselstein, the Netherlands. In 2001 she graduated in Fashion Design from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem. Following her studies, she gain work experience while working with Donna Karan and Maria Cornejo in New York.
She launched her namesake couture label ‘ILJA’ in 2005. Following the success of her couture collection, she launched the prêt-à-porter line ‘Ready to Fish’ in 2007. Three years later Visser founded her own fashion house under the name Ilja Visser Group, located on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. In 2010 she opened the doors of her shop with the collection ‘Ready to Fish’.
‘Ready to Fish’ was well received both in the Netherlands and abroad; the collection was sold in Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Denmark, England, Switzerland, Austria, Azia and the United States.
In 2011 Visser was the first Dutch designer to receive the prestigious Cultuur Mode Stipendium Award from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds (Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation) for her innovation and talent. The Cultuurfonds Mode Stipendium was a prize of €50,000
In the same year, she presented her work at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Architect Pierre Cuypers, who designed the museum at the end of the 19th century, inspired Visser. The show was presented in the Eregalerij in the museum.
Numerous celebrities have worn Visser’s designs. American singer Alicia Keys wore shoes from the ‘ILJA’ collection and in December of that year American singer Avril Lavigne was spotted wearing a couture dress from the ‘Skinfonie’ collection. American reality star Kourtney Kardashian wore a dress from the ‘Ready to Fish’ collection. Lady Gaga wore several outfits from the “ILJA” collection as well.
She first presented her work in Paris in 2013, with an exhibition at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. From 21 July to 30 August 2013 her couture line was shown on the first floor of the department store. In 2014 Visser organised a show in the gardens of the Residence of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Paris.
In February 2015 Visser showed the ‘Ready to Fish’ collection at the Lincoln Center in New York during New York Fashion Week.
In April 2015 Visser was admitted to the French trade association of high fashion, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which was decided by the CEOs of al established fashion houses, and she became officially part of the Paris Haute Couture Week.
In 2022, after moving abroad to U.A.E Ilja launched her first NFT collection in 2022. 50 unique abayas, that represent a landmark moment in digital-exclusive couture for Arab fashion. The unique abaya NFT is traceable, tradeable, wearable, and a collectible piece of modest digital fashion. She is investigating new ideas for the Metaverse with several partners.
Ilja gets hired by fashion labels that want to bring their company to another level, as well on creative, digital and business level.
I. Ilja graduated from ARTEZ, The Netherlands 2003
II. Design department women Donna Karan in New York 2005
III. Launch of her namesake couture line ILJA 2005
IV. Launch of the commercial high-segment label 'Ready to fish’ 2007
V. Received the first Prins Bernhard Culture subsidy available 2011
VI. Catwalk show ILJA couture in Rijksmuseum. 2011
VII. Exhibition of ILJA couture at Galleries Lafayette Haussmann Paris 2013
VIII. First fashion show in Paris at the house of the Dutch Ambassador 2014
IX. First show on the official Haute Couture calendar in Paris 2015
X Stopped couture label ILJA 2017
XI Emigrated to the U.AE. 2020
XI. Launch of first NFT collection in the U.A.E. 2022
XII. Consulting for several fashion and Beauty brands 2022