2009 marks the start of the “Hendrik Vermeulen Couture” fashion house label and the opening of the first “Atelier Couture" in the outskirts of Cape Town. With 11 years of fashion industry experience at the time, Hendrik hit the ground running by dressing notable politicians and South African Celebrities. Soon after the launch of the boutique, Hendrik met his husband to be, Jean-Daniel Meyer-Vermeulen, who joined the operations as Managing Director and set the course for the company towards the International Market.
The Hendrik Vermeulen Flagship Boutique and Atelier Couture opened its doors in Historical Cape Town in 2012. This Boutique offered a creative collaborative space, with an Atelier visible to the public. The Concept Boutique featured many diverse artists, from a variety of accessories artisans to painters and photographers.
With the arrival of Digital Fabric Printing in South Africa, Hendrik started working very closely with a Cape Town based printing company, Art Lab, to perfect the reactive dye process on silk and other natural fibres. This inspiration lead to the creation of the Reflections range, putting his newly acquired skills to the test.
Early in 2014, Hendrik’s work caught the eye of AltaRoma AltaModa’s Vice President, Valeria Mangani. The Couture house received its first invitation to this prestigious Fashion Week shortly after. Hendrik showed off his corsetry skills and knowledge of the female body from his intense study of Physiology, by creating a range called Insecta Mirabilis. This range combines a vast array of couture skills and body manipulation through corsetry.
In 2015 the Hendrik Vermeulen House received its first invitation to New York Fashion Week. This gave him the opportunity to explore the field of Prêt-à-Couture, in a collection entitled Smoke and Mirrors. The Couture house added a new element to its already wide spectrum of techniques, by working with antelope leather. During the NYFW presentation, Hendrik welcomed the inclusion of disabled models to the runway. Using this media attention gathered for this collection, Hendrik spoke out about the unhealthy way the fashion industry is forcing people to look at themselves in comparison to the highly edited, unobtainable perfection depicted in High Fashion Campaigns.
Later in the same year, an invitation to showcase at AltaRoma AltaModa yet again, marked the start of a collaboration with a non-profit ocean conservation initiative, the “I Am Water” foundation, through a collection of the same title. This also reignited a past passion of Hendrik’s, music. Hendrik wrote a poem based on the ocean, and composed a song, Ndingamanzi (I Am Water), in his home based recording studio, which he subsequently recorded with Zolani Mahola and Bianca Le Grange, two prominent South African artists. This song was released, with the profits going to the foundation, during their following NYFW showcase.
The 2016 Collection, I Am Water, was showcased at the historic and iconic Vanderbilt Hall, at New York Central Station. This runway show was named one of the top 10 NYFW moments. Hendrik again made use of the publicity to bring light to discrimination against minorities. This show featured not only disabled models again, but his time included Australian Down Syndrome Model, Madeline Stuart.
Hendrik has been noted as a multifaceted designer, due to his overall vision. He uses his skills and talents across many areas and combines it into one story. His skill set ranges from design and conceptualising collections, to execution. He participates in all creative and managerial aspects of the Hendrik Vermeulen Brand. His keen eye for balance makes him a trusted collaborator for many film makers, musicians, photographers and other artists.