Student-run fashion brand Insive aims to bring comfortable, affordable clothes to the masses

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  • The founder, former King George V student Khyra Hartono, started the label because she was indecisive while shopping for clothes
  • She hopes to donate clothing to charities across Hong Kong and one day work with artist Takashi Murakami
Rhea Mogul |
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Khyra Hartono wanted to create a brand that offered comfortable and affordable items for boys and girls. Photo: Ali G

When Khyra Hartono was a student at King George V School, she faced a lot of hurdles. 

“I was told by a friend that I’d never be successful; I was cyber-bullied severely; and I got called ‘dumb’ and ‘BTEC’ [a vocational, rather than academic, qualification] by many people,” says the 17-year-old, who is now studying at Pace University in New York. 

“It affected my mental well-being for so many years. I thought I’d never achieve anything.” 

But Khyra proved her bullies wrong. Today, she is the CEO and founder of Insive, a clothing brand launched in January, which offers affordable and comfortable items for girls and guys. 

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Growing up, Khyra was always “indecisive” while shopping for clothes. 

“I wasn’t fond of the price or the material,” she says. But she saw this issue as an opportunity for a business. 

“I wanted to find something I could throw on every day and feel good, stylish, and comfortable,” she says. “That is what I want to bring to people with my brand.”

She suggested the idea to her father, who works in the garment industry, last year. She realised that his experience and guidance would be very valuable, but she wanted to do everything her way: from the design process, aesthetics and functionality, to manufacturing and marketing. 

Khyra creates the blueprints for the clothes herself, and a professional designer helps her choose the materials. Photo: Handout

Khyra created blueprints for her clothing designs and showed them to a professional designer, who helped her to modify them and choose the materials. She also regularly asked her friends for feedback to ensure that she was meeting her customers’ needs. 

With her father’s help, Khyra was able to contact manufacturers to bring the designs to life. 

“I sold out my first line of products in a short time,” says Khyra, who advertised her brand on Instagram and Facebook. 

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The brand name, Insive, is short for “incisive”, which means “intelligent thinker”, she says. She chose this name for her label because it reflects her personal goal of being a “deep and detailed thinker”. 

Khyra’s hard work eventually paid off. As well as business success, last September, she won the BTEC Business Speech Day Award at her school’s annual Speech Day, which celebrates students’ academic and extracurricular achievements. 

And she has no plans to slow down any time soon. 

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“In the future, I hope Insive expands to more countries and cities around the world,” she says. “A dream of mine is to work with one of my favourite artists, Takashi Murakami, whose work is fascinating.”

The young entrepreneur also wants to give back to society through her brand; in the coming months, Khyra hopes to develop a programme whereby Insive clothes are donated to charities across Hong Kong. 

“At the end of the day, nothing comes easy,” she says. “What my journey has taught me is to listen to yourself and not anyone else." 

“Unfortunately, there are going to be some people who won’t like what you do and will say some horrible things, but you have to push yourself to be the best.”

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