For a decade now, Diva Dhawan has had a remarkable presence in the fashion world — first as a model, then as a wellness expert, and now, as an entrepreneur. Born and raised in New York, the Fashion Institute of Technology graduate’s first job was at a retail store. She would visit India during summer or winter breaks and by the time she turned 15, her modelling career took off. That’s when she moved to Mumbai, walking the runways for couturiers like Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, and Anita Dongre. 

In 2017, Diva started an Instagram page called And Then We Stretch where she shared slices of her fitness routine, lifestyle, and health-focused affirmations. It eventually turned into a wellness platform which led her to teach Flow Pilates. In 2022, the 32-year-old is back in New York and helms two brands: VRTT Vintage and PopBuyIndia. While the former is a second-hand luxury platform the latter is a made-in-India fashion retail website. Both brands advocate for positive, planet-conscious changes that she hopes to see across the industry. 

Here, Diva tells us about responsible luxury, and how her film for Tata CLiQ Luxury’s The Luxe Life 2, live through March 11–15, captures the NYC spirit.

Define your personal style in three words. 

Diva Dhawan (DD): Minimal. Practical. Versatile.

How has your wardrobe evolved? 

DD: I buy less and invest in long-lasting closet staples like a pair of denim jeans, an oversized turtleneck, a blazer, a long cape coat, and a crisp white shirt. They allow me to mix and match and transition easily from day to night. A decade ago, I would shop without thinking about the use. But today, I put a lot more thought into the kind of wardrobe I want to build. 

What’s New York street style like? 

DD: It’s a city where people dress for themselves — and that’s inspiring. Your fashion should be about you. 

What does luxury with a purpose mean to you? 

DD: List down the pieces you like and cut it by half. The handful of things left should fulfil your desires and should be consumed consciously.

Do you have a forever fashion staple? 

DD: Some of my denim jeans are 12-15 years old. They bring back memories from the time I was working for a denim retail store in New York. It is the first thing I wear when I travel. 

You directed a short film for Tata CLiQ Luxury. Tell us about it. 

DD: I lived in India for a decade before returning to New York in 2020. In a way, this film amalgamates those two experiences. When I was shooting, we revisited my favourite spots in NYC: my go-to coffee shop, and some of the places I love in SoHo. New York has so much to offer, and it can really feel like home once you create that atmosphere for yourself.