When she first started ADIFF in September of 2015, Angela Luna was in her senior year of studying fashion design at Parsons. She sat in her home, scrolling down her Facebook feed, and had no idea what was about to happen. She soon found herself staring at a picture of a 3-year-old Syrian boy named Alan Kurdi.
She was frustrated, passionate, and desperate to do something to help with the refugee crisis, but wasn’t sure what to do.
“I considered donating to charities, but as a broke university student, I knew it wouldn’t be much,” Luna said in her “Design Intervention For Global Issues” TEDTalk. “I wanted to dedicate my time and my skills, because I felt it was my responsibility to do more.”
After she researched and collected her thoughts, Luna set forth to create a line of clothing dedicated to helping Syrian refugees as they made their journeys across borders. The brand sits on the intersection of fashion and function, with goals to create long term solutions for not only refugees, but also for those who are internally displaced.
Luna cites her visit to refugee camps in Greece and Turkey in 2016 to be one of the most moving experiences; it’s when she began to fully acknowledge just how important her jackets were for refugees.
“Clothing should be considered a tool in life, not something that causes more problems,” said Luna.
Aside from having products that’s user-oriented, ADIFF’s team composes itself in a lighthearted manner, hoping to come off as a relatable and trustworthy brand.
“We didn’t want to be this huge corporate power,” said Luna. “We wanted to be able to drive conversation and inspire new ideas in the industry, instead of being this exclusive and elitist business.”
The most important thing that Luna says she’s learned is that obstacles and failures are inevitable.
“I might not know how to overcome every single obstacle,” she said. “But I know that there’s always some way to get through them, and the fact that I know that I can is what matters.”