LargeUp Interview: Anya Ayoung-Chee on cANYAval

September 8, 2014


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LU: Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing here at Miss Lily’s for Fashion Week.

AAC: We are doing a wrap up of the summer/opening of Fashion Week, using the cANYAval brand, as my sort of continuous launch of what it is to represent Trinidad and the Caribbean, in New York. With cANYAval, we’re basically promoting Caribbean fashion as a form of expression and, as I said to somebody just now, โ€œholding hands, and moving forward.โ€ The idea is really to take talents that are either born in the Caribbean โ€” Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, wherever it’s coming from โ€” or inspired by the Caribbean, and allow it to grow into a global space. Winning Project Runway helped me to get to a certain level, where people were recognizing what I was doing, and I found that I couldnโ€™t really do that alone. Not in good conscious, yuh know. I felt like it would be really beneficial to use the moment, and take it beyond me. โ€˜Cause Iโ€™m very proud of being Trini…

LU: Yes! You waved the flag when you won.
AAC: [Laughs] On LargeUp, that’s a classic, classic shot. It’s just about continuing to do that; but in a real way, where its commerce, and it’s coming back to peopleโ€™s livelihoods, yuh know. I think its all well and good to do it from some point of altruism, cultural capitol, and thats greatโ€”thats always happening! The Caribbean is so seductive, its so magnetic, everyone wants a part of it. But I want to see people start to make money. I wanna see these designers that Iโ€™m bringing to be able to make careers out of it, and not have to have a little side job. Iโ€™d like to see them do it for real, like I got to do it for real, and I guess, thats what really inspired me. I didnโ€™t think being a designer was a real jobโ€”but it actually is.

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