No Problem Too Large! Angela Luna, Undaunted.

When we (as part of a privileged class) are confronted with seemingly unsolvable problems like regional hunger, outbreaks of infectious disease, lack of access to clean water, or a mass exodus of refugees from one country to another, it’s easy to ignore the problems because they are “over there.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed and think a problem is just too big, what could I do? Not Angela Luna. She looks at a seemingly hopeless problem and identifies design solutions to help alleviate some of the issues at the very heart of the problem.

Angela Luna is the Founder and CEO of ADIFF, a startup that uses the fashion industry as a vehicle and offers innovative design solutions to address a number of global issues. Can solutions to big problems be fashionable? Yes, they can! Angela Luna talks about her inspiration for several of her design solutions.

Noelle Fredland had an opportunity to ask Angela about the important work she is doing, and why she continues to stare-down global issues, offering solutions.

NF: What first inspired you towards humanitarian work? What experiences/observations shaped the desire to help others?

The media coverage of the Syrian crisis and specifically the image of the little boy that was on the beach, Elan Curdy. This drove Angela to try and find a way to present a solution that could help in this crisis that had more long-lasting resonance than giving money, which as a student was not the most feasible option. At the time Angela was in school studying to become a fashion designer. She worked with two of her professors to radically change her senior project to focus on this idea and ADIFF was born.

NF: What gaps do you see in the fashion industry in terms of helping others and the world at large that could be filled? How do you hope to change or shift paradigms within the fashion industry?

The fashion industry is not known for applying itself to current environmental or humanitarian issues. Angela is encouraging individuals and brands to look up and down the design chain and at their own strengths to make long-lasting positive change. She hopes to continue to make products that will fill a need, look at ways to employee refugees in making those products and continue speaking engagements to inspire others to use their gifts to make a difference.

In what ways, can consumers of fashion help in shifting the role that clothing and designers play into more of a humanitarian role?[Angela] urges consumers to pay attention to how a brand works up and down supply channels and in their giving policies. Voting with your pocketbook causes

[Angela] urges consumers to pay attention to how a brand works up and down supply channels and in their giving policies. Voting with your pocketbook causes change if enough people support companies that are doing great work.

NF: What current projects are you working on?

In the last 6 weeks, ADIFF launched actual Product to get product in the hands of refugees. The initial publicity and launch of the brand went viral before they had product, so they are now working on their marketing strategy to reignite that energy and awareness.

NF: What countries do you think could most utilize these convertible tent/jacket products?

Currently, the first round of [in]visible jackets are being delivered to refugee camps in Turkey and Syria. Angela has plans to distribute tent jackets to homeless within the U.S. and internationally.

NF: If people want to learn more about these projects, or purchase any of these convertible products, where can they do this?

Visit the ADIFF website or watch Angela’s TED talk. Also, watch the ADIFF brand video with FastCompany.

Noelle Fredland is the Marketing Director for the Old MIll District in Bend, OR