Angela Luna: She’s Designing for Refugees

July 25 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Getting to Know You

Have you ever thought you really knew someone but then realized your first impression was flat-out wrong? We can be particularly bad at making unwarranted judgments when it comes to famous females we think we know better through every glossy paparazzi photo. But the truth is the real lives of the famous are often just as complicated and intimately personal as our own. For instance, did you know actress Mila Kunis of That ’70s Show was a refugee? So was our first female secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, and musician Regina Spektor, just to name a few. The bottom line is you don’t really know someone until you get to know them. So, today, before you put Harriet from HR in the frenemy zone, make an effort to get to know her. You might just discover the two of you have a whole lot in common.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: More Than 50 Percent

In recent years, we’ve often heard the term “refugee” in connection with the ongoing crisis in Syria. Let’s set aside politics for a moment and learn the facts. According to the United Nations, as of the end of 2015, there were nearly 4.3 million registered Syrian refugees in search of a better, safer life. More than 50 percent of those Syrian refugees are women, and even more are kids younger than 17 years old—women and kids who have no home, few resources and face a ton of stereotypes.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Angela Luna, Founder and CEO of Adiff

If that statistic troubles you, know this: You can help. If you don't know where to start, today’s Woman to Watch will definitely get your thinking cap bubbling with inspiration. Angela Luna is the founder and CEO of Adiff, a revolutionary fashion startup with one heck of a humanitarian mission.

A graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, Angela planned to become a couture designer after college. But once she started paying attention to the Syrian refugee crisis, noticing particularly disturbing images on the news of Syrian children and their families taking perilous journeys to flee the dangers in their own country, she was overcome by emotion and knew she had to help.

She spoke with volunteers, and spent a ton of time researching and studying up on refugee needs. Then creative inspiration took over! For her graduate collection, she created a line of transformative outerwear that can be used for multiple purposes, including shelter and flotation. She even traveled to Greece to meet firsthand with refugees, who had positive responses to the products’ ability to increase safety and security.

From a utility coat made from recycled water bottles that converts into a waterproof tent that fits two people, to a padded jacket that becomes a cozy sleeping bag, and even waterproof coats that have a built-in flotation device or baby carrier, Angela’s innovative fashion items offer truly life-saving characteristics. This amazing convertible collection was so groundbreaking, it earned Angela the Parsons School of Design Designer of the Year award.

After receiving such widespread praise, Angela officially launched Adiff. And for every item purchased, Adiff donates a portion of the proceeds to refugees with the most immediate needs.

Despite her world-changing idea, Angela has faced her fair share of challenges in getting the company off the ground. For instance, creating patterns that don’t exactly fit the traditional clothing mold make production more challenging.

However, this fashion maven has overcome early stumbles, and with a business built on a strong humanitarian mission, Angela’s company is not only helping refugees the world over, but also using fashion as a medium to create awareness and education about a global crisis affecting so many people.


I’ll leave you today with a meaningful quote from our dedicated Woman to Watch, Angela Luna:

“Fashion or any other industry can easily become a movement for change. It may not be able to solve the crisis itself, but it sure can make a difference.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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