Anya Ayoung Chee 

Design Strategist and Social Entrepreneur - NUDGE Caribbean

Anya Ayoung-Chee is a fashion designer, social entrepreneur, and creative strategist. In 2008, she competed at the Miss Universe pageant in Vietnam for her native Trinidad and Tobago. The following year she launched her first collection, Pilar, named after her younger brother. Several years later, Anya inspired millions when she won Season 9 of Project Runway. She then launched her eponymous womenswear line geared toward the resort wear market.

Anya's passion has been to leverage her platform to facilitate opportunities for Caribbean creatives, small business owners and at-risk women. By producing her clothing lines in T&T, she is able to work with and provide training for local seamstresses to sew for the fashion and carnival industries, thus increasing livelihood streams for these women. She channeled her love for Carnival into designing for the largest band in the Caribbean, Tribe, and was co-creative director of The Lost Tribe in its inaugural year. She simultaneously developed the brand, cANYAval, which comprised an e-commerce platform that sold ‘Monday Wear’, a Carnival events company and a production team that curated and supplied carnival costumes for LA, Toronto, Barbados and Jamaica. This experience segued into her newest venture, WYLD FLWR, a phygital festival wear brand and mission driven fashion/technology community that is pioneering the NFT and digital fashion space for Caribbean creatives.

Anya's entrepreneurial experience includes the development of one of Trinidad's first co-working spaces, HOME, which included HOMECafé and a curated Caribbean designer boutique, Exhibit A. Later her social activism began to take shape with the founding of the Together WI Foundation which brought together a team of talented, socially driven creatives to develop some of the most impactful campaigns to date in the region. Following the success of the Together WI, in 2020, Anya's company partnered with one of the Caribbean's largest conglomerates, Massy, to form the social enterprise, Nudge Caribbean, designed to support the growth and development of MSMEs, which has since grown to a community of over 150 entrepreneurs spanning Trinidad, St Lucia and Barbados.

Most recently, Anya's company in partnership with the Together WI Foundation have launched a women's livelihood programme called Spöol, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and USAID, and designed to train women of both Venezuelan and Trinidadian descent in the areas of garment construction and carnival production, with the intent to increase the safety and stability of this population of at-risk women as well as facilitate the return of production and manufacturing to the Caribbean for both the fashion and Carnival industries. As of this February, Anya has been selected as the Caribbean's first and only UNHCR high status supporter, with pending status as the Caribbean's first UN Goodwill Ambassador.

Having created several businesses and brands over the last ten years, Anya is now focused on applying her many learnings to her current and upcoming ventures with an emphasis on finding innovative approaches to merging creativity, social consciousness and technology, with an emphasis on women’s economic empowerment.