International Women's Day '22

After a year like no other, supporting and celebrating our community feels more important than ever. The team at OnceWas would like to take the #IWD2022 theme as an opportunity to celebrate our communities individuality & uniqueness. 

"To me, breaking the bias means appreciating people for who they really are & how they can enrich the world, instead of judging & pigeonholing them based on appearances. Coming from the fashion industry, which is notorious for promoting unrealistic, superficial beauty, it is refreshing to see brands & consumers finally starting to appreciate beauty in all shapes, colours & ages." Belinda Glynn, Director & Head Designer of OnceWas.

“Our brand aims to create something unique that helps women from a wide range of ages, demographics & sizes, feel confident & special. This IWD22 we wanted to feature women that represent our broad spectrum of customers & highlight their individual style & beauty. Dani, Roopa & Nadine are three inspiring women whose beauty & strength shines from within.”

We were privileged to have these 3 women visit our Melbourne Styling Studio to discuss this year’s theme of #BreakTheBias, while styling some of their favourites from our upcoming Autumn collection & adapting the pieces to their own personality.


Hi, I'm Roopa! A Fashion Stylist, Confidence & Resilience Coach, Wellness Advocate, Digital Creator and Cancer survivor. I deliver tailored Coaching & Mentoring programs to support my clients to live with purpose, confidence, and resilience. I'm driven by seeing people achieve their goals and live their best version.

After 18 years of multiple jobs, roles, opportunities and experiences, across the world and in a variety of sectors, I believe that it is the choices we make as individuals that shape, validate and endorse the best version of ourselves. I have had the privilege and opportunity to gain unique and insightful experiences about the impact of style and presentation in confidence and resilience over the course of my life and aim to share these learnings to support the development of others on both a personal and professional level.
It took a 25 year battle with multiple medical conditions & a near death experience for me to realise my true purpose. I finally decided to shift gears in living a life where I can guide more and more people to live with confidence and have a corporate presence by leveraging the power of fashion. I am driven by seeing people live their best version by being aware of their personal style and understanding how to dress to succeed in every aspect of their life. 

Over the past couple of years, I have transitioned into Confidence & Resilience Coaching by leveraging the power of fashion to help clients/employees to:
- Manage challenges due to body changes, particularly related to lockdown, to gain balance and a positive mindset
- Manage emotions, overcome their negative self-talk, and sabotage patterns, develop a positive mindset, learn to embrace their bodies and dress for success
- Enhance natural style, self-esteem and awareness of ‘corporate presence’
- Learn about colour theory & impact, body language, presentation impact, and the awareness of personal style and how to dress to impress

I am also a keynote speaker and assist organisations and individuals through workshop sessions and personal coaching. I'm a passionate advocate for the importance of effective ‘personal style’ to establish a ‘corporate presence’ in industry and society, building resilience within leaders and their teams, and sharing my knowledge and experience.
I am an Indian-Australian and I've had the privilege of living and working in a number of cities around the world. As someone with a south east asian ethnicity, experiencing 'Bias' has been a part of my existence for as long as I can remember. 
From a very young age, I have experienced gender bias both in social settings as well as at school. Fast forward to working in the corporate world (Accounting, Banking & Finance sector), gender bias is so deep rooted in all facets of the business. What starts from an expectation on how women should dress, talk and present themselves, ends up in a stark pay difference between men and women. In addition, as someone facing a long & arduous medical battle (including cancer, lupus, hypothyroidism and osteoporosis), I had to constantly fight for my right to be treated as an equal and not a 'sick employee' who was immediately put into the 'hard basket' and has to always accept less pay and no professional growth.

After a long and painful battle with a number of organisations, I finally moved away from working for others and decided to start my own business in the creative industry. To my surprise the inequality never goes away and the bias continues wherever I go. Being a woman of colour has been a tough journey, but now it's time to 'break the bias'. It's time to stand together and say No to injustice. Its 2022 and gender equality is a birth right of every human. Let's celebrate equal opportunity for all. Let's all come together to #BreakTheBias."
Roopa wearing the Manhattan Shirt & Hutton Skirt.
Roopa wearing the Manhattan Shirt & Hutton Pant (coming soon).
Roopa wearing the Hutton Blouse & Halston Leather Skirt (coming soon).

Roopa wearing the Hemingway Top (coming soon) & Halston Leather Skirt (coming soon).


Nadine is represented by Everi-Body, an agency representing talent of all sizes, shapes and ethnicities around Australia.
Hi, my name is Nadine. A picture tells a thousand words - I absolutely love modelling for this reason. I have used modelling and my platform to speak to my audience through my images, letting women around the world know that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to, no matter what you look like!
Alongside my modelling career I am a teacher and social worker. I love giving back to our community and empowering future generations with the greatest weapon of all - education. We as adults must support young people and break down barriers to accessing education and continue to advocate for equal opportunities.
To me, “breaking the bias” means breaking through any stereotypes that are assigned to us as women.
We have two choices in life - to let societal expectations of what a woman should be dictate our potential or break through the stereotypes and biases we are assigned. 
As a mixed-race bald woman I have been underestimated so many times in life and for a long time, I allowed these societal expectations of what a woman should be to control my every thought – constantly trying to be skinnier, have longer/thicker hair and perfectly polished nails.
It wasn’t until I lost all my hair from alopecia that I developed the confidence to break through these expectations and explore my potential beyond the physical realm of femininity. Looking within my heart and mind, I have learnt that femininity and being a woman means to love wholeheartedly and to be compassionate and nurturing to others.

Nadine wearing the Farrah Knit (coming soon) & Manhattan Pant.
Nadine wearing the Hutton Blouse & Farrah Leather Pant (coming soon).
Nadine wearing the Farrah Knit (coming soon) & Farrah Leather Pant (coming soon).
Nadine wearing the Farrah Knit (coming soon) & Manhattan Pant (coming soon).
Nadine wearing the Hutton Dress.
Nadine wearing the Manhattan Faux Fur Coat.

Dani Stevens

Recognised by her peers as one of the top 5 fitness experts as featured in Women's Health, Dani is our definition of a Supermum. Living her life to the absolute fullest, not only promoting a healthy, happy and active lifestyle for herself, but for her entire family & followers.

I’m “breaking the bias” by letting my natural white hair grow out and embracing proage. I don’t want women to feel they need to look younger by dying their hair or getting Botox to look twenty in their fifties.
I’ll never forget asking my hairdresser nearly a decade ago that I would like to grow out my hair and she said “No you’re too young to be white in your 40’s, everyone’s going to think you’re old!” 
I feel so empowered and even started modelling after 47 years, so it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and have inspired so many women along the way!
Dani wearing the Hutton Maxi open (coming soon) & the Farrah Leather Pant (coming soon).
Dani wearing the Hutton Maxi (coming soon) & the Farrah Leather Jacket (coming soon).
Dani wearing the Hemingway Top & Halston Leather Pant (coming soon).
Dani wearing the Hemingway Top & Halston Leather Pant (coming soon) & Halston Faux Fur Bomber.
Dani wearing the Hemingway Top & Halston Leather Pant (coming soon) & Hutton Coat (coming soon).
Dani wearing the Hemingway Top & Halston Leather Pant (coming soon) & Hutton Coat (coming soon).