Proving that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive, Anya Ayoung Chee has not only been crowned Miss Trinidad Universe in 2008 but was also the winner of Project Runway Season 9. A Trinidadian by birth, Anya’s exotic beauty and heritage mirrors the mélange of ethnicities in the Caribbean, born to an Indian and Caucasian mother and Chinese father that gives her a unique perspective and edge to her winning designs that got the attention of the Project Runway judges as well as the public. Her style combines the sultriness and carefree spirit of the Caribbean along with the sensibility of a savvy New York City fashionista. By using an exclusive software program only available to Project Runway contestants on HP smart touch computers, designers could easily create original colorful fabric patterns and have them transferred directly to fabric. By winning the competition, she got $100,000 to start her own line, a $50,000 technology suite from HP, as well as a partnership with piperlime.com. She first launched her line, Pilar in 2008, named after her brother who tragically died at age 18, in a car accident.
During fashion week, we got a preview of her Spring 2013 line aptly named “Carnival of Color” that brings her effusive spirit to life with fun and easy rompers, colorful sexy low cut chiffon gowns and caftans that ooze the sexy vibe of the Caribbean. When asked who her favorite celeb was that she’d like to dress, she chose the other famous Caribbean star, Rihanna, who perfectly embodies Anya’s style. Even though she’s not on Project Runway anymore, expect to see more of this rising star in the future.
This year for New York Fashion Week, Nancy Hirsch from The Pencil Promise Charity, partnered with Anya Ayoung Chee for her Spring 2013 collection. Each purchase of a Maasai bag helps to change the life of a Maasai girl by bringing education to girls of the Maasai Tribe in Kenya. Each purchase of a Maasai bag helps change the life of a Maasai girl. The Maasai bags were used as Anya’s thank you tote to the media that covered the event.