More than just a clothing line: Fil-Am brand HYR.UP Division promotes creative self-expression among young people

Written by: Shin Kitane/Thursday, May 10, 2018 06:38 AM

"...The biggest accomplishment for me is if I inspire someone through my brand to do better in life--then my goal has been met.  I believe we can all do better." -Kevin Afable, owner, HYR.UP Division


HYR.UP Division is a clothing line owned by Kevin Afable, a Filipino-American creative and business owner based in Lake Elsinore, California. HYR.UP's designs are mostly minimalist, versatile, and great for its young market's lifestyle and aesthetic:

In a world where businesses are often always centered on profit alone, HYR.UP Division is a breath of fresh air, with its core vision of creative empowerment among the youth. Above all else, owner Kevin Afable emphasizes that HYR.UP is "a brand to inspire individuals to reach for higher, and bettering themselves, whether it is through art, community service, or being a positive role model to the youth."

Ultimately, Afable's goal is for the brand to make a positive impact in the street fashion clothing business and the community.

What we love about Afable's company and vision is that they aren't just putting out pretty words on your screen--they actually take concrete steps to empower creative youth around them. 

Just recently, HYR.UP hosted Safe Haven, a gathering of local artists, entrepreneurs, and other young creatives in their community to network and display their talents in a space where they may feel safe, welcomed, and appreciated. Safe Haven is HYR.UP's version of an open mic night catered towards individuals who are interested in sharing their talents but aren't necessarily prepared to perform in front of a large audience just yet. The resulting event was terrific--an intimate gathering of young people who were just out to jam, dance, share a joke or two, and generally just have a good time and support each other.

Check out some footage from their first event:

"I believe that some artists need an outlet to express themselves, but are afraid to do so (...) that's why I named my event the "Safe Haven," it's a place where artists can be free and safe. The kids in my community need an outlet to remind them that they are valued, and may be inspired to make an impact through whatever they may put their mind to." - Kevin Afable

We got a chance to interview HYR.UP Division's Owner, Kevin Afable, and asked him to share his vision for the brand, as well as his thoughts on equality and on being Filipino-American in the U.S.. 

Hi Kevin, can you talk to us about your brand? What does your name stand for and what is your main goal as a clothing line?

HYR.UP is a brand that promotes individuals to be self-motivated, and have faith in their actions; we also encourage individuals to not settle for less. My main goal for my clothing line is to promote positivism. I believe that a lot of clothing brands nowadays are encouraging our youth the wrong things in life, and I want to change that, while still being original and stylish.


We think it's admirable how you remain connected to your Filipino roots and how you work towards using your brand to help the youth. Can you tell us a little about your own experiences as a Filipino American in the U.S.? Were there any challenges that you experienced growing up? What did you learn from them?

Thank you! I take deep pride in being a Filipino American. I grew up around a dominantly Hispanic and African American community, so I was usually the only Filipino in my community. Of course I would face discrimination at times, but I wouldn't let it get to me. Even through the rough times, I would still keep a smile on my face and be kind to whoever was around me, and respectful. It taught me to always be the better person, and always show love for people. I must also add that I also coached Youth Basketball, so working with the kids also taught me patience and compassion. I don't have time to be angry towards others.


You previously mentioned that you believe in "fighting for equality in my community, regardless of ethnic background and skin color." Why do you think this is important, especially today? 

Times are rough nowadays, and in my opinion, everyone should be treated equally and fairly. I advocate for unity for brown, black, and white people. If we all can come together, great change can come.


What Filipino traits/cultural values/practices do you find helpful, especially when it comes to pursuing your goals in business and in life?

I try to do my best to represent my filipino culture by displaying one of our many well known qualities--showing our genuine kindness and generosity and caring nature for others. I always keep in mind the hardworking and diligent attitude of a Filipino. It helps me get through the stresses of running a business, and In life, in general.


What is your grand vision for your brand, both in terms of business and the advocacy behind it?

In the future, I want to open physical stores for HYR.UP in many cities in the United States, and also in the Philippines, and the rest of the world. But the biggest accomplishment for me, is if I inspire someone through my brand to do better in life, then my goal has been met. I believe we can all do better.


Show 'em some love via the following channels:

HYR.UP E-Commerce Website: 

Instagram: @hyr.updiv 

Youtube: HYR.UP Division 

Facebook: @HYR.UPDIV

About Shin Kitane
Shin Kitane writes to remember and believes that words have the power to heal, inspire, and move others. She dreams of a world where men and women are treated equally, where race, gender, and religion are not measures of one's worth in society. She is also a book-hoarder and a firm believer in re-watching Mean Girls and Harry Potter multiple times a year. Follow her misadventures @shinkitane on social media.
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