Nika Diwa: Mission Fashionable
"Whether you are a seasoned fashionista or dread getting dressed in the morning, consider this your safe space."
This how Nika Diwa, a New York-based corporate fashion alum and confidence coach, welcomes readers to her website. There is so much to learn — and love — about this modern woman whose journey of self-discovery has benefited not only herself, but also the women she has worked with, inspired, and influenced.
Today, Nika is a businesswoman equipped with a mind bursting with bright ideas and a heart that's in the right place. As the proud owner of Nika Diwa, a one stop resource for educating, consulting, and shopping for the modern woman, her "vision is to simplify styling needs through value and convenience, while advocating for self-worth."
What would set the foundations of Nika's advocacy began at LIM College in New York, a small private school that focuses on teaching merchandising and buying for fashion. Upon graduating, Nika worked for top tier brands that included Ermenegildo Zegna, Barney's New York, and Chanel, to name a few. Luxury fashion was in her DNA, and she had never felt more at home in her career.
A few years down the line, a career shift that pointed the way to a job in an online luxury fashion retailer presented itself. The confident Nika took it with much gusto, this time moving up her career ladder and becoming head of merchandising. Researching trends and suggesting would-be bestselling items became her bread and butter, and she was succeeding in every way possible, until she hit a bump in the road that her moral compass simply couldn't ignore.
Nika recounts, "We were in a meeting and talking about where there was potential to increase profit. The numbers were very clear that was a huge potential for us to bring in size 6 to 10 merchandise because there was a demand and supply for a really beautiful product. And the response I got was, 'It's not our brand.' And mind you, the average US body size for women is that size. It's an 8 to 10. Do you see where I'm getting at?"
"I knew that I loved the luxury industry... [But] working in luxury fashion, the effects of low self-esteem, the result on women," she continues, this time telling her story with palpably more passion.
The eye-opening moment touched something in Nika's core that lay dormant up until that point. A fire in her was lit, and she was sure that there was nothing that could put it out.
As a woman who loved fashion and believed in its potential to shape women's lives, Nika set forth on a mission of reconciling fashion and women empowerment. She bid farewell to a blossoming career to change gears and become a full-time advocate for women — an admirable move not many successful women (and men) would be brave enough to do.
With her arsenal of experience and solid industry ties, Nika became an individual consultant for luxury brands as well as one-on-one clients. Rather than shun the luxury industry and work against it, she began to work to transform it.
"That's what I decided to do. That's one of the things I'm so passionate about: speaking about this. Given this background that I have, I love fashion because it makes people able to transform something from the inside to something outside. It's a reverse process; they realize that the inside is beautiful, [rather than think it's the outside that makes them, them]," Nika explains.
The next chapter
As she set foot on her new path, Nika's diverse clientèle has grown — and so has she.
To start, she's met with staff members of luxury brands to discuss that fashion is more than just a sales job or product knowledge. Above all else, they must understand that they have the power to change a client's perception of themselves and grow their self-confidence. Hitting the bottom line will come naturally; after all, a satisfied, happy client who has their needs are met with sincerity will be more than happy to come back.
When it comes to her individual clients, she speaks with them about dressing for their body type, learning to invest in essentials, eliminating unnecessary wardrobe pieces, and most of all, instilling the mindset that fashion is for everyone.
"Everyone is a fashionista... Fashion encompasses you no matter who you are, no matter your status, your background, because you have to wear it. The idea that fashion is only for a few, that's not true. You have to wear clothes, don't you?" Nika says with a smile.
The ladies behind non-profit organizations like Self Love Club, Center of Hope, and Reveal have also become her regular clients. With them, she holds seminars for women of varying age groups and backgrounds, from middle school girls, top executives, and even those that work to stop human trafficking about similar topics on fashion and confidence through style.
Nika's main takeaway for all her clients? "You can only empower other people if you believe in yourself. You can only share the kind of confidence that you have in yourself."
Tips and tricks
As an expatriate, Nika has plans of moving back to the Philippines in 2018. Once in Manila, she plans on setting the foundations for her advocacy and partnering with local brands and organizations.
While those plans are still underway, Nika coaches Filipino women from overseas.
Nika's work goes well beyond beautiful editorials, photo shoots, and all things luxe, but at heart, she's still a fashionista who loves to dress up! Pick up a style tip or two from this fashion expert here:
- The working Filipina must have a medium-sized tote and a pair of really good flats. Gone are the days when women were expected to sit in the office all day and simply look pretty. Women today are mobile, but can still look great while they're at it.
- For day to night outfits, a black shift dress will never fail. Flat shoes will do in the day, and a pair of versatile pumps will transform your outfit to work socials-ready.
- Watch out for monochrome pastels as next year's big summer trend. Generally, monochrome gives the illusion of continuity and helps elongate your shape to add height. What woman wouldn't want this?
- Nika's favorite shops to visit when she's in town are Kamiseta, Adora, and Harlan + Holden.
At the end of the day, Nika wants everyone, men and women, to learn that "fashion is a conversation with the world about themselves. I want them to know that they have authority over their message, the things that happen to them, the pain that happens to them in their lives, authority to turn that around and express it in a really beautiful way that reaches other people."
Nika Diwa currently works full time for her own brand and online fashion company, The RealReal. Learn more about her and her story on nikadiwa.com. Follow her on Instagram @diwadoll. All photos taken from @diwadoll.