Heni trained at the prestigious London International School of Fashion after winning a bursary in November 1999. Excelling in his studies, he won numerous awards and graduated top of his class in 2002. In the same year Heni walked away with the laurels by winning the Smirnoff Fashion challenge, giving him the financial backing to start his signature label, Heni.
Sponsored by the Levi’s brand Heni showcased his S/S 03 collection at South African Fashion Week. Here he was proclaimed one of South Africa’s innovators of Fashion by Elle magazine. Heni went on to gain experience across all aspects of the industry, working as head designer and stylist.
In 2005 Heni produce a private showing of his S/S 06 collection in the Seychelles. This collection was presented to the Young Designer’s Emporium who went on to stock the Heni label nationwide in 2006.
Proving his design abilities again, he won the Vodacom Durban July Fashion challenge and the Vodacom Credit Card Fashion Challenge in 2007.
Heni’s S/S 08 collection at Johannesburg Fashion Week was exceptionally well received by the media, press and buyers, generating fantastic and widespread media and press exposure for the Heni label as well as securing more stores.
Crowned the ‘It boy of Fashion’ by Glamour magazine and being compared to Dior’s maverick John Galliano and voted second as one of South Africa’s top Fashion Designers by Robyn Cooke, Heni Este-hijzen has firmly established himself in the South African fashion industry. In light of his success at Joburg Fashion week Heni was invited to showcase his A/W 09 collection as well as design a collection especially for the Audi sponsored show, a slot that was shared by some of South Africa’s heavy weights, Gavin Rajah, Kluk CGDT, Craig Port and Hilton Wiener at Audi Joburg Fashion Week in January 2009. Both collections received a standing ovation and great reviews from Press and Buyers.
Taking full advantage of the current success and visibility of the label, Heni, who is widely recognized as one of South Africa’s most talented young designers, showcased his S/S 09-10 range at the first inaugural Arise Africa Fashion week in June 2009. This collection, consisting out of three signature black looks, followed by nineteen beautifully crafted, soft and fluid looks earned him nominations for three awards at the Arise Africa Fashion Awards, winning him the one for Most Promising Designer of the Year.