Meet the Stylist: Anya Ayoung-Chee

Anya Anya Ayoung-Chee is the winner of Project Runway Season 9 and one of the hottest young fashion designers to emerge from the Caribbean in recent years.

Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, she launched her women’s label, PILAR, in May 2009 and it has been making waves ever since. In June 2010, she launched a lingerie line named Anya de Rogue, the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

A graduate of Parsons School of Design and Central St Martins School of Art and Design, Anya spent several years working as a designer in New York City until in 2007 she returned home after her eighteen-year old brother Pilar died tragically in a car accident. Soon after the move, Anya was selected to represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant. This experience propelled her into a life in front of the camera as a model and television host. Anya has since hosted several Caribbean television and web-based events and live shows, including movie premieres, fashion shows and her own fashion program “Make It Yours”.

Simply Stylist is excited to introduce you to Anya Ayoung-Chee! Get to know some of her experience in the industry in our interview below!

SS: Tell us the story behind your favorite wardrobe item

I have an Eastern Pearson tunic that belongs (or rather, belonged) to my mom. I basically stole it from her several years ago and literally have to ration the number of times I wear it! I also had it on the day I auditioned and got selected for the final cast of “Project Runway” (season 9) and for that reason alone it will forever be my favourite piece.

SS: What's your most memorable 'panic moment'

When I lost my money while at Mood during my season of “Project Runway.” I am the only designer in the history of the show to do this... of course it would have to be me.

SS: How did you recover from it gracefully?

I was forced to design and construct a garment using muslin (the basic fabric in the workroom which is used mainly for drafting) and whatever small scraps of fabric I could borrow from my fellow designers. I dyed the muslin to make a pleated top and made a pair of wide leg trousers with the one piece of fabric I salvaged. In the end, I won the challenge and learned an extremely valuable lesson – every situation has an inherent blessing buried within it if we are willing to see it and embrace it.

SS: What is your favorite era for fashion?

The ‘70s

SS: What was your big break?

Winning Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe and being given the opportunity to design and style most of my wardrobe for the pageant.

SS: Whose closet would you most like to raid?

Lupita Nyongo'o, Rihanna, Solange Knowles, Daphne Guinness, Gwen Stefani, Sheika Mozah of Qatar, Nicole Richie, Kate Moss

SS: Who are your favorite designers?

So many to list but here are a few at the moment:

Haider Ackermann, Mara Hoffman, Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe, Cushnie et Ochs, Roberto Cavalli, Lanvin, Naeem Khan, Balenciaga, Balmain, Ivy Kirzhner (Shoe designer), Melody Ehsani (jewelry) Public School (menswear), Ricardo Tisci, Tom Ford

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