Angela Luna designs fashion for refugees

Battling tragedy with—the right—clothes.


As a young interventional designer, Angela Luna examines the connection between fashion and global issues. Most recently she crafted a multipurpose clothing collection for refugees, making sure to design impartially so that people from all cultures are able to feel comfortable in her multifunctional designs. We got know Luna better for our Border Politics issue.

How would you describe your work in one short sentence?

Design intervention for global issues.

Is your work political?

Absolutely. When you are creating products in response to current events or a global disaster, being political is inherently a part of that, and I think it’s fine. Fashion has avoided interfering with politics for too long.


What do borders mean to you? Do they limit you in any way?

I would consider borders as imaginary lines drawn across our world to denote property. I definitely feel limited by borders, due to trade agreements, taxes, and visas. When you’re designing solutions for a problem that exists thousands of miles away in other countries, borders and visas can easily get in the way of your impact.

How much do you think you are affected by border politics?

I think it has a pretty big impact on my daily life. If the U.S. were accepting more refugees, it would be easier for me to test products, get feedback, and hire people. If border politics were more accepting, my days would probably look very different than the way they do right now.

Does your cultural identity have an impact on your work?

Of course, I think my cultural identity finds its way into my work, whether I want it to or not. If someone else on the other side of the world was designing this same collection, I wholeheartedly believe that theirs would look completely different based on their dress culture. However, I’m trying to design impartially, so that people from other cultures are able to feel comfortable in my clothing.  


How do you see the difference between cultural appreciation and appropriation?

Appreciation is paying tribute to another culture in a respectful manner; appropriation is taking an idea from another culture and changing the context. I would say my work fits in neither of these categories, but again, it’s always best to be respectful about another culture’s history and identity.

What do you stand for?

I’d like to think that I fight for people who may not be able to fight for themselves. I stand for equality and purpose; both in the garments I design and the way I live my life.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

I hope the refugee crisis reaches an end, and the border politics issues are able to be resolved. But really, I would prefer to look at hopes or dreams as goals, so that we can actively work towards them. My goal is to be able to leave a positive impact on this crisis, and help as many people and families as I can.


Follow Angela on Instagram


Words by Lottie Hodson


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