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.

More
Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being