LargeUp Interview: Anya Ayoung-Chee on cANYAval

September 8, 2014


LU: It’s a great strategy. It doesnโ€™t feel like youโ€™re selling anything; it just feels like youโ€™re celebrating.

AAC: I also decided to veer away from the seasons, because I come from a warm place, and we dress one wayโ€”all the time. Whether it’s some combination of contemporary womenswear mixed with swimwear, mixed with resort, like its all mixed up. For a while I battled with fitting in to autumn, winter; spring, summer, resort, holiday like all the millions of rigid rules that occupied [the] fashion space. I could be completely wrong, and it may not work, but I believe if I stay true to what feels right to me, itโ€™ll make sense in the long run. Ideally, I want to feature warm-weather clothes all the timeโ€”service the Northern Hemisphere when its warm, and the Southern Hemisphere when its warm, and just really be a global brand for โ€œwarm-wear.โ€

LU: Talk a little bit about the upcoming Carnival Season for 2015.

AAC: cANYAval is not only a fashion entity, it’s also covering mas on the road, in Trinidad, [the] second largest carnival in the world. The best one, as far as Iโ€™m concerned. [laughs]. I design for Tribe, which is the biggest [masquerade] band in the country in Trinidad, and it’s the fourth year going on. I also do an event called cANYAval, which is on the Saturday before carnival. It benefits my charity, which is the Tallman Foundation, an arts education foundation. I wanted to establish myself strongly in Trinidad, and thereโ€™s no better way than having a section in carnival, and having a fete.

LU: Caribbean culture is definitely taking over globally; LargeUp just covered carnival in Scandinavia!

Yes, Berlin has one, Johannesburg has one, Hong Kongโ€”and thatโ€™s why I believe in cANYAval. I believe that itโ€™s a global market. I really think that even my brand, Anya and Pilar, my actual clothing line, have much more of a chance of going global, via the authenticity of my culture. I really believe that.

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