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.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

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Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

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