Designing For Difference: Parson's Senior Creates Clothes For Syrian Refugees

Designing For Difference: Parson's Senior Creates Clothes For Syrian Refugees
Angela Luna

As per report, 4.8 million Syrians are refugees and 6.5 million others are displaced within Syria. Since the breakout of the Arab Spring in 2011, Syria has become the land of military, violence and terror. Civilians have been displaced from homes, into countries and from each other. Because these horrifying flow of events, there has been a strong humanitarian support extended from different countries for the people affected by these acts of terror.

While countries have opened their borders and their asylum centers for refugees, a Parson School of Design student dedicated her senior thesis project for victims of such displacement. As the daily 11pm news said ‘200 people died in Syria today’, Angela Luna looked over to her dad and asked, “should I be doing fashion? We’re sitting around everyday talking about $4,000 Prada pants that don’t even matter in the larger scheme of things.”

Instead of just beating herself up about it, she decided to take up the duty to ‘Design for Difference’ — the name of the newly formed brand. After doing an extensive reach on the refugee crisis and learning more about the problems faced by these victims of mass displacement, Luna decided to focus on creating a line that would minimize the difficulties faced by the refugees as they cross borders and sea along with their families.

Photography by Jess Richmond, design by Angela Luna.

The collection comprises of seven outfits that are transformative and not only unisex but have a universal fit as well. As seen in the image above, among the seven outfits, two jackets can transform into full size tents (one that can fit a couple and another a family), a jacket that can turn into a sleeping bag and another that can turn into a backpack, an inflatable life vest garment, an adjustable child carrier vest, and a reversible reflective/camouflage jacket.

With these designs, Luna has been announced as a finalist for the Parsons School of Fashion 2016 Designer of the Year. She has also begun slowly transforming her thesis project into reality by contacting agencies that will could help her to produce these clothes in bulk and ship them to needful locations. She is planning to apply for Fulbright Scholarship in order to get access to the refugees and test the garments in Turkey.

There is no doubt that Luna has gone out of her way and created resources that are capable of resolving at least a few problems victims of displacement face today. As someone who was initially planning to get a job with Abercrombie and Fitch, Luna’s brand ‘Design for Difference’ certainly has the potential to inspire many others. Hopefully her brand will inspire other students to experiment with their creativity that is not also inclusive to the latest couture but is also inclusive to societal issues.