Change The World One Bag At A Time With Nika Diwa's Bag Line Láro
Have you ever thought about how your shopping habits impact the world around you? While buying clothes from your favorite store at the mall supports the livelihood of many people who work for those brands, doing a bit more digging for fashion brands that support more than just basic livelihood proves to be fulfilling, and gives our choices more meaning.
Meet Láro, the brainchild of the passionate fashion force Nika Diwa, one of our favorite humans on earth for her drive to affect social change through fashion. She's no stranger to the style world, having had experience working in the cut-throat industry back in New York. These days though, you'll find her holding talks, styling, collaborating with designers, and basically dedicating her life to improve the lives of women around the world through the power of fashion. Here, she shares with us some insider info on her latest venture Láro, a bag line that's more than just eye candy. Read on, shop, and get inspired!
Metro.Style: How did this bag line come about?
Nika Diwa: Having a background in luxury fashion, I always appreciated quality craftsmanship in products. Upon moving to The Philippines, I immediately fell in love with the culture of indigenous artisans, especially those specializing in clothing and accessories. Upon hearing the background stories of how these artisans have fought and prevailed over adversity to keep their art and livelihood through the years, I was all the more inspired to support and promote their work. This moving in my heart combined with my long-time commitment to the fight against human trafficking as a speaker is how Láro was born. Through Láro, our mission is to leverage fashion as a means to empower women while advocating for underprivileged and marginalized communities around the world, specifically through supporting indigenous artisans and joining the fight against human trafficking.
MS: What is the concept behind it?
ND: The name Láro is inspired by the Filipino meaning of "to play". As a survivor of six years of abuse myself, I firsthand know what it means to grieve a loss of innocence when you are used for a purpose in which you were never designed. For those who have endured injustice, there is a sense in which you feel robbed of your ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Láro is about reclaiming celebration; through the unique stories behind each of our bags and global support in providing awareness and education promoting a revelation of worth for all.
I was 17 years old when I became a victim of sexual assault by a boy whom I trusted. A boy who claimed to love me. I will never forget the gut-wrenching, soul-suffocating feeling that I still, 11 years later, somehow can't find the words to adequately describe. How do you begin to articulate a pain so unfathomable that the very breath that gives you life becomes an unbearable reminder of the innocence that was mercilessly stolen from you by a monster in the dark? You see, there is something mysterious that happens to the abused. For when you are used for a purpose in which you were never intended, you are left devoid of the desire to laugh, to enjoy... to celebrate. ????????? And yet. Here I am. Breathing. Laughing. Enjoying. Celebrating. Living proof that what the enemy meant for evil, God used for good. Good in that I, in and through my process of redemption and healing, now have an authority unlike any other in the face of someone else in pain desperate to be heard. Because when a woman opens up to me for the first time about the bruises under her shirt and I look her in the eyes saying "I know", she knows without a shadow of a doubt that I do. And when she witnesses me rise above the very thing that should have killed me, she knows that she too, can not only heal, but THRIVE. ????????? When I felt God's calling tug in my heart to The Philippines I never could have guessed the way he would grow my heart towards distressed communities suffering due to circumstances beyond their control. Slowly but surely my passion for anti-human trafficking awareness and adoration for the dying culture of artisanal craftsmanship developed into the collaborative celebration of artisanal handbags that is Láro. ????????? ???To learn more about Láro and shop our collection, visit the link in our bio. Follow @shop.laro for the latest updates. To read full blog post, visit http://nikadiwa.com/nikas-blog/???
MS: What do you aim to achieve with this bag line?
ND: Láro seeks to shift the global landscape impacting positive change as a social enterprise with a three-point cycle of change designed to support artisanal communities, leverage fashion as a means to educate and empower consumers, and join the fight against human trafficking. This is acheieved through our contribution from a portion of all sales to affiliate organizations in anti-human trafficking, the empowerment workshops we host to educate consumers, as well as other initiatives to establish local and global awareness for our advocacies.
MS: What are the bags made of? How many designs are there? Are they limited edition?
ND: This special eight-piece, limited edition collection is an inspired collaboration with Adante Leyesa, a local designer and artisan from The Philippines. Each handbag is an exclusive, one-of-a-kind creation, made of local materials in partnership with indigenous artisans. We seek to celebrate the vibrant handiwork of the Ifugao basket weavers, the embroidery of the Abra Tribe of Luzon, and the beadwork of the Gawad Kalinga communities; sharing their vision with the global market. Please note that each of our handbags are unique in their own special way. While the colors and materials are consistent, the positioning of components varies. Each season we will be introducing new artisan collaborations into our product mix.
Meet one of our artisans; the hand and heart behind our handbags. Our special collection is an inspired collaboration with Adante Leyesa, a local designer and artisan from The Philippines. Each handbag is an exclusive, one-of-a-kind creation, made of local materials in partnership with indigenous artisans. We seek to celebrate the vibrant handiwork of the Ifugao basket weavers, the embroidery of the Abra Tribe of Luzon, and the beadwork of the Gawad Kalinga communities; sharing their vision with the global market. To view the finished KAIT handbag, visit the link in our bio! ?????? #Láro #artisanmade
MS: What are future plans for Laro?
ND: In the future, we plan on increasing our contribution of sales towards the fight against human trafficking. We also hope to launch a series of Celebration Tours; a series of global initiatives to bring awareness to social injustice while reclaiming celebration. In the process, my prayer is that every woman that comes into contact with Láro leaves inspired and awakened in a revelation of her worth.
Láro is sold online at shoplaro.com. For more information, log on to fb.me/shoplarohandbags. For private events or trunk shows, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Product photography by Seven Barretto