Name: Anya Ayoung Chee
Current City: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
Occupation: Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur, Activist
How would you describe your style?
Easy, Tropical, Urban, Bohemian, Eclectic
If you had to wear one outfit everyday, what would it be?
Wow not too sure I could wear one outfit everyday… But if I had to, it would be a shirt dress in a vibrant print.
How do your cultural roots affect your style?
Being from a very diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural island, I tend to mix references and aesthetics to create a singular look that's as easy to wear and effortless as possible, to suit our tropical environment and lifestyle.
Who or what influences/inspires your style?
Textures and patterns in everyday life (architectural details, natural patterns, urban surfaces); uniforms both formal and informal (ie. what people wear daily by choice or by force); traditional and indigenous dress from all over the world; carnival and costuming from all over the world; people with effortless, sometimes unconscious style.
Describe your current life in three words. Surpising, Euphoric, Focused.
You are very dedicated to the development of the arts and the youth of Trinidad and Tobago, can you tell us about some of the projects that you are currently involved in, and how you decided to devote your time towards these initiatives?
About a year ago I co-founded an organization called Together WI, a creative collective that designs and develops social awareness campaigns. We've produced several campaigns focused on social issues affecting Trinidad and the wider Caribbean such as sexual harassment and gender based violence, criminal justice reform and women's rights. Our intention is to stimulate productive and lively public conversation about these issues by creating messaging that's shared on all forms of social and traditional media. We use these campaigns as platforms to raise awareness about not for profit organizations and NGO's that are actively working on the ground in the various areas of need that we choose to address. My interest in this form of social activism is born from an undying love for Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean as a whole, and my genuine belief in the power of the individual to effect change in our communities.
How do you effectively balance pursuing all of your passions?
I try to pay close attention to the interests and activities that bring me the most joy, and then I focus on those with as much discipline and precision possible. I'm always aiming to zero in on what I truly care about and find collaborators to work with on the projects that most intrigue me. As I continue to hone these interests I find that certain projects overlap my various (and sometimes disparate) passions. The projects that best combine several of my interests into one, tend to take precedence.
Where does your desire to help others come from, and what advice would you give to individuals who wish to make a difference in their communities?
I suppose I don’t have a drive to help people so much as to empower people to achieve their dreams, no matter what their circumstances may be. I believe in the power of the individual in society to create change. I believe that we each can play an impactful role in our communities and in our world by doing whatever is our core skill or passion, alongside one another, with the purest of intentions, to create the world we imagine. Perhaps this drive has come from observing my mother create avenues for this type of empowerment in under-served communities for most of my adult life. At the core of my consciousness I have a desire to live my life purposefully and for me there is no better way to do that than to live my dreams fully, and hopefully create avenues for many others to do the same.
You've achieved a lot on both international and local scale, can you tell us one thing that you are very proud of accomplishing?
I am most proud of manifesting my current life with my husband and our baby on the way. Of all the things I have ever achieved, this new chapter is the most exhilarating, and miraculous, of anything I have ever done or accomplished.