What began as an effort by entrepreneur Angela Luna to aid refugees is now poised to become a for-profit venture — and she’s crowdfunding to take the leap.
Luna is the founder and CEO of Adiff, a Los Angeles nonprofit she describes in her campaign as “a humanitarian clothing brand that utilizes the fashion industry to create aid and awareness for global displacement.” Her company was born of the senior project she created at Parsons School of Art and Design in New York City in 2016.
For the project, she designed versatile coats intended for use by Syrian refugees “who are constantly on the move and have to travel with their home on their backs,” she says. These coats can be transformed into tents in a matter of minutes, providing people in need with shelter along their journeys.
Soon Luna also began crafting coats out of recyclable, waterproof polyester that could transform into sleeping bags and that reflected light to be more visible at night. In addition to helping refugees abroad, she also began partnering with homeless outreach organizations in the U.S.
Until recently, Luna intended for Adiff to remain a nonprofit organization. But when a steady flow of purchase requests came pouring in for her jackets, she realized the potential to both make money and make a bigger difference with her innovations by setting up as a full-fledged business. The company will continue to help refugees by giving a free coat to someone in need for every coat it sells.
“We’re challenging the fashion industry by questioning how we view our clothing and designing it in a way that provides assistance for a major global issue,” Luna says. “We believe that intentionally designed clothing can save lives, and that fashion can be harnessed as a vehicle to create substantial change.”
The Money: In the next 10 days, Luna hopes to hit her Kickstarter fundraising goal of $30,000. Through the campaign, which is designed to sell jackets, contributors can either donate one jacket to a person in need or purchase one for themselves, which will still ensure a new jacket for someone who needs it most.