Nika Diwa moved to New York City with a dream to create and inspire. After graduating summa cum laude from LIM College, Nika worked in the buying and merchandising departments of luxury fashion companies like Ermenegildo Zegna, Barney’s New York, and The RealReal. She runs a fashion blog called Diwa Dollhouse as a platform to celebrate the art of self expression through style. Recently, Nika co-founded a nonprofit called Clothed which seeks to empower women through a revelation of their worth. After an amazing panel on her buying experience, today we get personal and explore her entrepreneurial side and self-expression.
How is life in the Dollhouse?
Amazing! I recently left the corporate fashion industry to start up a few projects of my own. I currently run Diwa Dollhouse, a blog that celebrates fashion as an art form of unique self-expression. It is also a global platform for women to rally, encourage, and support one another towards a more unified fashion industry free from the pressure of impossible body image standards and disordered competition. I also recently co-founded Clothed, a nonprofit seeking to inspire and empower women through a revelation of their worth.
I love the name and mission of your new project – can you tell us about your transition from buying to social entrepreneur?
I knew for a while that I was being called to start my own business and yet it took me a year to finally take that leap because of fear. No matter how tightly all my contingency plans were or savings locked in, I was paralyzed because I kept focusing on potential failure. The week I quit my job all I did was cry and my husband lovingly said, “You are allowed to mourn during this transition. But when you are done, you stand up tall and pick your head up high because there is work to be done that only you can do. This level of excellence is only asked of you because you have been born for such a time as this.”
From that moment on I have not looked back. The obstacles are many but my focus is greater. And I am humbled to say that with a lot of hard work and my faith to sustain me, there is no place I would rather be.
Wow! I know faith is an important part of how you fell in love of fashion right?
Yes! Growing up, my father was a pastor and my mother was a teacher and we lived on a pretty tight budget. Despite our financial struggles, my father always had the most impeccable style. I remember how his closet was consistently pristine; in my eyes, it was a mini Bergdorf Goodman. Everything was in its place; even the dirty clothes were folded neatly in the hamper! When my father would get up in front of the church to speak in his Sunday’s best, I would watch on in awe and truly believed that his sense of style was part of the message. Ever since then I believed (and still do to this day), that fashion is a conversation to the world.
On Sunday, we’ll find you wearing…
On a Sunday, you’ll find me wearing an outfit way overdressed for whatever occasion the day calls for. There is something so sacred about Sunday to me that makes me to inspired and excited and I tend to go a bit overboard. It’s like a party in my closet that spills out onto the streets and I don’t care who sees it!
Love your shoot with photographer Mirna Plakalovic. You had access to our entire Stylist Closet. What spoke to you about the garments you chose to wear?
I believe that garments are an expression of one’s self. When I choose an outfit, it is a reflection of the way I am feeling, my mood, my purpose for that day. My style is a representation of my being! I loved REIN’s idea of fashion as armor and black is my power color!
How do you incorporate your own personal style with what you do?
My personal style is just that…it is personal. And evolving. I believe that we are all created with a unique blueprint unlike anyone else and that fashion is a means of sharing with the world. My main purpose in my career is to inspire the truth of value and worth within women globally through fashion. So when I get dressed every morning, I am living out this belief that fashion matters because it is a reflection of the person wearing it.
I love the idea of an evolution of style. Do you have any style regrets?
None. Truly. I do not regret a single phase. My most embarrassing phases of metallic purple bell bottoms and hot pink barbie hair extensions I now look back on with such fondness because it was in those silly moments that creativity was being born in me.
What is your go-to power outfit?
All black, baby! There is something so fierce and powerful about head to toe black (and it is so easy to throw together!). I also love to pair with a deep red lipstick.
What trend do you hope never goes out of style?
The choker trend. It makes the neckline look so regal!
What excites you about Nineteenth Amendment?
Nineteenth Amendment is most exciting to me because through their incredible network of emerging designers, they are breaking ground on new levels of inspiration and creativity that I believe will span in reach and affect the world in a powerful way. Like Coco Chanel once said: “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only…the way we live, what is happening.”
REIN is Armor. Statement, Empowering, Extravagant, Feminist, Luxury. REIN is an innovative designer womenswear brand that has been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Eve, Charli XCX, Little Mix and featured within music videos such as Cheryl Cole’s ‘Crazy Stupid Love’, Bo Ningen’s ‘Nowness and Alexandra Burke’s ‘Renegade’ EP. Identified as one of the ‘Ones to watch’ by The British Fashion Council, REIN is fast becoming a celebrity staple. Founded in 2013, Rebecca Morter and Gemma Vanson met whilst studying at London College of Fashion and upon graduation created REIN.
Photos by Mirna Plakalovic (@mirnap_mirna).
View the awesome original post on Diwa Dollhouse.
Nineteenth + Seventh is a monthly feature bringing cutting-edge fashions from our global designers to your favorite tastemakers. Our goal? To help tell their stories through our designers’ clothing. We believe that fashion is at its best when many voices–from independent designers to bloggers, stylists, and connoisseurs–make themselves heard. Interested in sharing your fashion story? Email us letting us know you’d like to participate.