Senior thesis collections stormed the runway, crossing one another in a state of organized chaos, and yet it was impossible to ignore the transformation taking place center stage. Audience members looked on as Luna pulled, zipped and pitched a tent from what moments prior had been a sleek orange anorak.
Early into her senior year, Angela Luna (ADIFF) found herself sitting in a current events class, questioning her role within the fashion industry and the world. Luna had recently watched a video of a news journalist aboard a smugglers boat of refugees attempting to flee Syria. When the motor broke down in the middle of the night and they were stranded in the Aegean Sea, Luna thought, “if these people were wearing reflective clothing, it would be a lot easier for them to be spotted.”
Inspired by the refugee crisis, and furthermore by Lucy Jones, a Parsons graduate from the previous year with a similar mind for problem solving, Luna began to explore the ways in which she could use her design abilities for the greater good.
“We’re all immigrants. This entire country is built upon immigrants and refugees.” Luna says, ensuring this ideology is the backbone of her senior thesis collection, Crossing Boundaries, the first collection of her independent fashion label, ADIFF.
“Design for Difference [ADIFF] is a humanitarian fashion outerwear brand dedicated to addressing global issues through design, providing customers with unique and innovative looks and performing large-scale donations,” Luna says of her label, of which she is the founder and president. In pursuit of a balance between fashion and human issues in an effort to create long-term solutions, Luna has developed a strong mission: design intervention to solve problems faced by Syrian refugees.
With her first collection, Crossing Boundaries, Luna is doing just that.
Each piece of outerwear in her seven-piece collection is unisex, one size and transformable. Created to optimize functionality through durable, waterproof, weatherproof fabrics and wear in different environments, fashion is simply the method of addressing her cause.
Luna’s impressive lineup of outerwear includes jackets which can be turned into a tent, a backpack, a sleeping bag, an inflatable flotation device, a child carrying apparatus, and a reflective reversible style, respectively. Two jackets were designed to turn into tents, one to fit six people and the other to fit two, and her flotation jacket is similar to a flotation device one would find on an airplane.
Clearly a forward-thinker, Luna has a clear vision for her career trajectory. “In the next ten years, I see myself working on donations, redeveloping products and working more with technology.” Her long-term goal is to create a scholarship program focusing on the refugee camps, as she notes that most evacuees are within the camp system for almost 17 years and are in dire need of stable shelter.
Despite her awareness that refugees often say “nobody hears us,” the immigrants are reaching out to Luna directly. She has received several thank you’s from refugees who are grateful for her perseverance on their behalf.
When we met, right after her show, Luna had a dream to create a humanitarian fashion brand that could generate global awareness. Just a few months have passed, and Luna is already changing the climate of the fashion industry, one jacket at a time.
Visit her website http://www.adiff.com and learn more about ADIFF, and how you can contribute to the cause, at https://www.crowdrise.com/adiff-design-intervention-for-global-issues and https://www.fastcompany.com/3064597/change-generation/can-a-jacket-that-doubles-as-a-tent-help-refugees.