While women should be treasured, admired, and celebrated every single day, March has been known as Women’s History Month in America since Congress passed Public Law 100-9 in 1987 declaring it so. This month, one spectacular, inspirational woman you should definitely know about is Angela Luna, a fashion mogul turned humanitarian that hit the ground running, taking the world by storm, and is only just getting started.
A graduate of Parsons, the private fashion, art, and design school right here in New York City, Luna is the founder of an incredible company called ADIFF that she started after being marked by the dire refugee crisis, which continues to intensify today, while working on her final project.
“When I started hearing about the refugee crisis, I was so overwhelmed by what I was seeing,” Luna said to me over the phone. “I didn’t really know what I could offer but I knew that I wanted to help in any way that I could.”
After mulling over how she could use her artistic passion and skills to benefit refugees around the world, Luna decided to change her final collection for school from evening wear to the refugee crisis. Looking at the crisis through the eyes of design, Luna was determined to figure out a way to make clothes become more than clothing. She began with 2-3 months of research, pulling endless pictures, and talking to a lot of volunteers who worked with refugees to find out what key problems needed addressing. Ultimately, she found that some of the refugees’ most pressing needs were the ability to switch between visibility and camouflage, comfortable sleeping equipment, safe child-carrying, drowning prevention, and shelter.
Luna decided to change her final collection for school from evening wear to the refugee crisis.
According to Luna, the biggest of those issues was visibility. After hearing stories of a refugee being shot, she realized they needed a way to be visible at times and hidden at others. Through that, came the Reflective Reversible Jacket. On one side, it camouflages green and on the other it is reflective so that the refugees can choose when to be seen. This was the jacket that first launched it all on Kickstarter.
The magic began with that final collection designed during her senior year at Parsons in 2015 but the business itself seemed to have launched overnight to Luna. The universe has a beautiful way of working out and at her graduation, someone from the International Rescue Committee attended and she was fortunate enough to have met them. Almost in the blink of an eye, ADIFF was registered as a company in the spring of 2016. So how did she come up with the name?
Originally it was called “Design for Difference” but eventually she sought a catchier, shorter name. “I was talking to someone about how all I wanted to do is to make a difference,” she said. ADIFF was that eureka moment! And she is indeed making “a diff.” In addition to the Reflective Reversible Jacket, ADIFF also carries a backpack jacket, a sleeping bag jacket, an inflatable flotation jacket, a child carrying jacket and both a large and small tent jacket. Going beyond providing warmth and being clothing, these jackets fulfill Luna’s goal of helping refugees with the dire adversities they face on a regular basis.
Currently, Luna has been working with several nonprofit and volunteer agencies and is looking to form partnerships with the International Rescue Committee and the UNHCR. Her short term goal is to continue to be able to distribute hundreds of jackets to displaced refugees who need them the most. Her favorite part of the entire experience has been actually visiting a refugee camp in Greece. “The best moment was just being able to finally meet and connect with the people that I had been designing these for, for over a year,” she said. “It was just the best feeling.”
But this power woman won’t just stop there. Luna wants to greatly reduce global displacement and homelessness and is working with various charities to help offer shelter to homeless people here at home as well. But again, her dreams and passions go beyond that. “Clothing helps,” she said, “but it’s not a long term solution.” One of her objectives is to be able to offer jobs to refugees who have been resettled so that she could help them thrive and live a happier, healthier life. She wants to get whatever product to whoever needs it most—be it the inflatable flotation jacket for those who have to cross turbulent waters to get to safety or the tent jacket for the homeless who desperately need shelter.
In addition to the Reflective Reversible Jacket, ADIFF also carries a backpack jacket, a sleeping bag jacket, an inflatable flotation jacket, a child carrying jacket and both a large and small tent jacket.
Her biggest and most rewarding goal for the future is to start a nonprofit organization “for things that couldn’t really be solved with clothes but other forms of design,” she said.
And she is constantly thinking up incredible ways to do that. Angela Luna, founder and CEO of ADIFF, is doing exactly what she set out to do: help people. And in doing so, she is one badass woman who is definitely going to change the world.
We hope that you’ll join us in supporting Angela’s startup and making ADIFF in the lives of the people who need it most. Check out how you can take action and get involved today!
Watch ADIFF clothing in action in the video below…