An art student designed a smart but simple fashion line to help refugees.

Fashion student Angela Luna was just two weeks into her senior year of college when she decided to scrap her thesis project and her post-graduation plans.

A fashion design student at Parsons School of Design, Luna had always been interested in evening wear, and her talent for couture helped her land a job at Abercrombie & Fitch right after she graduated.

She had a change of heart when she saw the news about the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.

Suddenly, in the grand scheme of things, those coveted designer contracts to make $4,000 Prada pants didn't seem so important to Luna anymore. Instead, she wanted to help the millions of people who were displaced and struggling to survive in their transient states.


Angela Luna, photo by Lorenzo Costa. Used with permission.

Luna started sketching ideas for a line of fashionable-but-functional outerwear specifically designed to address the issues refugees were facing every day.

According to the New School's student paper, Luna's teachers and mentors were skeptical, even shocked, when she proposed the idea to them. Was her new vogue just a way to profit off a tragedy? Why was she throwing away the industry work she'd already secured?

Angela, right, with designer Donna Karan. Photo by Parsons School of Design/Fiona Dieffenbacher. Used with permission.

But Luna's passion project eventually won over her critics.

"It is a statement of current events: not making a trend out of tragedy, but channeling major global issues into fashion," she explained in her artist statement about the project. "It is as much a political statement as a fashion statement. Fashion is often considered superfluous and detached from global concerns, and now is the time to create change."

The result of her work? Design for a Difference, a fashion brand that's "functional and designed to serve a particular purpose" while also "stylish enough to be worn on the streets of Manhattan."

"Each jacket responds to an issue that a refugee faces on a daily basis," Luna said in an interview with WBUR.

The inaugural collection, "Crossing the Boundary," includes several weather-resistant cloaks that can convert into tents for one or two people:

Photo by Jessica Richmond. Used with permission.

There's also a reflective jacket that can be turned into a harness for carrying children:

Photo by Jessica Richmond. Used with permission.

This one can be used as an inflatable flotation device:

Photo by Jessica Richmond. Used with permission.

Another one can be configured as a backpack:

Photo by Jessica Richmond. Used with permission.

And those designs are still just the beginning!

Photo by Jessica Richmond. Used with permission.

Despite the faculty's initial hesitations, Luna ended up winning the school's Womenswear Designer of the Year award in 2016.

And her graduation was just the start of an even brighter future in the fashion-for-a-cause industry.

Luna's line has already gained the attention of the UN's refugee agency, and she's been in conversation with numerous humanitarian aid groups about the ways her work can aid refugees and internally displaced people across the globe.

For now, her plan is to head to the Amsterdam Fashion Institute to continue her education — and one day, to launch her own company, committed to design intervention for global issues.

According to her website, Luna's ultimate goal is to launch her own brand that emulates the TOMS "one-for-one" model, where every time someone buys an item, the company provides a free one to a refugee in need.

"It’s kinda crazy how this thing that was a huge risk now is leading towards me turning down two job offers so that I can keep it going forward," she told the New School's student newspaper.

"I don’t want to sound snobbish or something, but the idea of designing something that doesn’t really solve a problem to me right now is so unappealing."

Photo via Angela Luna/YouTube.

Luna's artist statement sums the project up nicely:

"Creating clothes that assist these refugees are not where this collection ends. It ends with a discussion being created about human rights issues through unexpected platforms that have not been previously explored."

Check out the video below to learn more about Luna's revolutionary work with Design for a Difference.

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less