The Visceral Collection T-shirts began as middle schooler’s concept

Adam Villasenor wearing one of his company’s shirts. (Stephanie Silverman)

Stephanie Silverman

Many students attend college to obtain a degree and then pursue the career of their choosing; some students here at Saddleback College, however, have already found their dream job while they attend school.

Adam Villasenor, 19, business, started his own clothing company in 2004, called Visceral Apparel. Now the company‘s name has changed to The Visceral Collection, and many other changes have come along the way.

Villasenor first became interested in graphic design in eighth grade, when he took a class in Photoshop. During the class, ideas for shirts just came together for him.

Upon entering high school, he bought a spray gun and some paint and started making custom shirts for people.

“Soon I had too many orders on my hands and was staying up late spray painting. I had to upgrade to a one-color printing press, but then I could only do one-color designs. So not long after that I upgraded to a four-color printing press,” said Villasenor.

By the time he reached fifteen, his clothing line was carried in stores like Relic and True at Heart.

Along the way, Villasenor found out the importance of making mistakes and learning from them.

“In 2006, a friend of mine wanted to start a jean company and his father invested in it,” Villasenor said. “We made samples, but after about eight months, we had a falling out. Although it didn’t work out, it was a good experience because I learned cut-and -sew techniques, screen-printing, and embellishments. Also, I was able to make mistakes with someone else’s money that I won’t have to repeat.”

It was shortly after this that The Visceral Collection was born. The Visceral Collection is a product of Villasenor’s desire to freely express himself.

“I wanted to have the freedom to make whatever I felt like,” Villasenor said, “whether it was trendy or not, whether it was pop art or dark art or anything else. Visceral means inside of your body, so I really wanted to stay in tune with what I wanted to create.”

“Some companies try too hard to be unique in fashion, but I’m not tied up in what everyone else is doing,” Villasenor said. “If it’s something different, great, but if it’s been done, I take the time to do it right.”

He recently had a few deals in progress, including one with the former supplier of Rock and Republic, but none worked out.

“Some deals fell through due to the economy, and some companies wanted too much control of my company,” Villasenor said. “I decided to get a direct screen-printer, get a little funding, and do it myself.”

Villasenor gets his inspiration from a variety of things, from history to dreams he has had, and then turns them into designs.

“I hope to build this into a lifestyle brand that includes T-shirts as well as jackets, vests, and blazers,” Villasenor said. “I want it to have an upscale feel, but bring down prices because people don’t want to spend $60 on a T-shirt. I want my line to serve the mid-level consumer.”

In two-three months, TheVisceralCollection.com Web site will be up and running and customers will be able to make online orders. In the meantime, anyone who is interested can contact Villasenor at Adam@thevisceralcollection.com.

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