Project Runway Winner to Visit GCC

Anya Ayoung-Chee to Appear at Fashion Student Seminar

Batavia, NY- Fashion students at Genesee Community College are excited to hear from a Project Runway winner. Anya Ayoung-Chee, winner of season nine of the Lifetime Television Network program, will speak on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. in Room T119 of the Conable Technology Building on the Batavia campus. This monthly seminar is put on for DECA and Fashion students. GCC’s DECA (Distributive Education Club of America) is part of a national organization for students interested in pursuing a career in business, marketing or fashion retailing. The public is welcome.

Ayoung-Chee was born in New York City but at age two her Trinidadian parents moved the family back to Trinidad. She developed a passion for art and design while a student at St. Joseph Convent School in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She studied at St. Martins School of Art and Design in London and has a degree from Parsons School of Design in New York City. She spent several years working as a designer in New York before returning to Trinidad in 2007 after her 18-year old brother, Pilar, died in a car accident.

In 2008, she was chosen Miss Trinidad and Tobago and represented her country in the Miss Universe competition. On the Project Runway website Ayoung-Chee says the first item of clothing she ever made was “A slouchy gray jumpsuit I wore to Miss Universe.” Her ability to consult on her Miss Universe wardrobe sparked an interest in fashion design. In May 2009, she launched a women’s clothing label, PILAR. On a whim, she applied for Project Runway after seeing a tweet about the application deadline. She won season nine in October 2011. She has hosted her own fashion program on Caribbean television called Make It Yours.

“Anya is an inspiration to our students because she has a lot of determination and drive, which is essential to succeed in the world of fashion,” Fashion professor Rick Dudkowski said.

Fashion students are helping to publicize Ayoung-Chee’s visit. “This is like a dream come true,” said design major Candace Cooper, a GCC sophomore who has her own clothing line, Can’de Couture. “I’m very excited to hear about her Project Runway experience and to learn from her about developing your own designs.” Cooper plans to continue her studies in New York City next year and has high expectations for her future.

For more information, contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email:

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Editor’s Note:
A photograph of Anya Ayoung-Chee is available at: