Nika Diwa preaches empowerment through style and fashion
Fashion is a fun and exciting world, but many people—women in particular—approach it with trepidation. What with the fashion police, obligatory social media presence and the pervasive notion that fashion for a select group of people who are mainly thin, rich and classically beautiful; it can be downright dispiriting. The last concept is something Nika Diwa loves to knock—mainly because it is true—but it doesn’t have to be.
The noted speaker and stylist narrates a story of how she once worked with a big-time model (“The likes of Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.”), and how she was shocked to find out that the already-slender model was supposedly found making herself sick in the bathroom. On top of that, the team was working with edited the model to look even skinnier. ‘That was the first of many times the industry broke my heart in relations to how it treats and portrays women,” says Diwa. “And yet, even the most disordered thing was once good and if so, can be reclaimed as it was intended to be.”
It’s Diwa’s gift that everyone she connects with feels uplifted. During her shoot with MEGA, the bad weather and a worse-than-usual traffic situation caused everyone to be several hours late and for the mood to become harried and tense. Yet a few hours later, everyone leaves on a high note. Diwa acknowledges this gift and uses it for her brand of “empowering through style.” The concept is not new—makeover shows run gamut locally and internationally—but hers has a personal stake. “At a young age, I had decided to pursue the [fashion] industry because of a genuine passion for style and its ability to reflect the unique individual. And yet, the crippling and impossible standards imposed on women was in harsh dissonance to my initial inspiration and love for the field,” explains Diwa. “So I decided to embark on a mission to reclaim the truth of how fashion is for you and not the other way around.” What started out as an online diary <NikaDiwa.com> became her “love letter to the world.”
Positivity reigns in Diwa’s Instagram (@diwadoll)
Diwa, through her work with companies like The RealReal, Barney’s New York and Ermenegildo Zegna among them, has been exposed to the top luxury brands and all that comes with it–powerful people, hot celebrities and top-tier influencers. She knows firsthand the glitz and glamour, the artistry and the soul of the industry, as well as the dark side. That she manages to remain positive about it, to see the good and to insist that there is a place for everyone in this supposedly exclusive world—well, that’s extraordinary.
One can assume that Diwa herself, with her lithe fram, doll-like beauty and picture-perfect social media posts is one of the blessed them. But she readily and freely admits that she didn’t come from such privilege, and that her parents gave their all for her education and that she worked her derrière off to attain success in a highly competitive world. Let it be clear that where Diwa is right now is the result of fortune favoring the bold—and the kind.
Many young people aspire to join the glittery world of fashion, and many more want to establish their own style. Diwa is here to help them and to remind them that it is possible, even if the odds are stacked up against them. “Fashion is your message to the world,” she says. “A reflection of the unique blueprint embedded inside of you. Remember that true value is not found in brand labels or industry trends, but rather woven deep within yourself.” It’s not easy, and Diwa herself would be the first to admit that she too struggled with doubt. But she always bounces back on the right side. “I always say style is such a special form of art because it moves and breathes with the one wearing it. Being empowered through style is not on your privilege, it is your right.”
Photography by Yukie Sarto of Studio 100
Art direction by Tanya Mallillin
Makeup by Aica Latay
Hair by Ja Feliciano