Fashion Designed to Help Refugees

We talk a lot about "fashion as a force for good" on Row+Rue. It usually refers to a brand's positive environmental or social commitment. Well, meet Parson's student and fashion designer Angela Luna who has taken that tag line to a whole new level with her innovative inaugural collection that is completely and solely based around doing good.

Frustrated and despondent over the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria and throughout the Middle East, Angela created her collection to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees struggling to survive on the perilous journeys that often last tens of thousands of miles as they strive to make it to Europe. Shocked by the lack of basic survival gear, Angela crafted clothing that doubled as necessary supplies are in short supply such as a tent, a traveling bag, a life jacket and clothing that glows in the dark.

Refusing to compromise on style, Angela started sketching ideas for a line of fashionable-but-functional outerwear specifically designed to address the issues refugees were facing every day.

Just two weeks in her senior year, Angela took a big risk by scrapping her thesis and post graduate plans to help elevate the design at Ambercrombie and Fitch HQ so she could focus on her new collection. Initially, the idea didn't go over well.

According to the Parson's student paper, Angela's teachers and mentors were skeptical as many wondered whether her idea was just a way to profit off a tragedy or a publicity stunt.

 

Angela endured and by graduation had launched her brand Design for a Difference, a line "functional and designed to serve a particular purpose" while also "stylish enough to be worn on the streets of Manhattan."

Having caught the eye of the UN, Angela hopes to expand her line and model it off the Tom's One for One model, where every time someone buys an item, the company provides a free one to a refugee in need.

So far we are waiting to hear if the collection will actually make it's way to the refugees it is designed for, but we are giddy with the ground breaking potential of what Angela has started.

Here a few pieces from the collection below:

Is this a jacket or a backpack? This outwear piece can be configured as a backpack:

Photo by Jessica Richmond.

Photo by Jessica Richmond.

Woah, check this out! This weather-resistant cloaks converts into tents for one or two people!

Photo by Jessica Richmond. 

Photo by Jessica Richmond. 

This jacket does double duty as a reflective jacket that can be turned into a harness for carrying children:

Photo by Jessica Richmond. . 

Photo by Jessica Richmond. . 

How many hundreds of lives could this jacket that turns into a life preserver have saved? 

Photo by Jessica Richmond. 

Photo by Jessica Richmond.