LargeUp Interview: Anya Ayoung-Chee on cANYAval

September 8, 2014


LU: Talk about Carnival Monday, and Monday Wear…

AAC: Monday Wear is a cross between swim[wear] and [an] over-embellished version of Carnival [wear]. It’s generally swimwear that’s super done up. Carnival has been such a spectacle of individuality, and it’s an opportunity to say, โ€œThis is who I am; This is how I express myself, and I donโ€™t wanna look like anyone else.โ€ Carnival costumes, as expensive as they continue to get, are worn mainly on Tuesdayโ€”headpiece, leg piece, feathers. So Monday has become this open space for designers to do these kind of slightly less embellished, less expensive, but still more elaborate versions of swimwear, and thatโ€™s what Monday Wear is.

cANYAval really began as an opportunity to showcase Monday Wear, for girls who wanted to be one level up from the rest. That’s what Keisha Als, one of our designers, that’s featured today, does. It translates into real swimwear or if youโ€™re going to some Hamptons-fabulous event. We try to take the super embellished version, and make it as palatable for the non-carnival user as possible. Because we still want this to go bigger than carnival. cANYAval began online last November, with as a portal for everything you need for carnival, except your costume. As it grewโ€”itโ€™s been less than a yearโ€” we realized that it has so much more scope than that. Its really evolved into a Caribbean brand, and Iโ€™m really happy about that.

LU: Since you are a veteran in playing mas, what are the three things every woman must have if sheโ€™s playing mas?

AAC: A really great pair of boots is so key. It used to be sneakers but itโ€™s not anymore. I would say, a really good tanโ€”whether its real or fake, and a good piece of Monday Wear. And number one is confidence.