CROSSING THE BOUNDARIES
“This collection is an ode to these people: everyone who can no longer return home due to war and violence,” Luna said. “To those who are on the journey, and those who did not live to complete it. It is a moment of empathy and understanding given to strangers; it is an attempt to acknowledge the tragedies faced by these migrants, as well as address some of their needs.”
Certainly her efforts to lighten the loads of hundreds of thousands of sanctuary seekers have struck a chord. Together with fellow student Jackson Wiederhoeft, Luna received the Parson’s 2016 award for womenswear designer of the year.
And her prototypes are only the beginning. Luna plans to parlay her senior thesis into an apparel brand that addresses global issues through design, much like a The North Face or Patagonia, but with a philanthropic bent.
“This line is distinctive in the fact that it was created with the humanitarian intention of assisting refugees,” she said. Although the garments are functional and designed to serve a particular purpose, they are also aesthetically crafted and relevant to today’s fashion market. The collection is stylish enough to be worn on the streets of Manhattan and practical enough to be worn on a hike in the woods.”
Luna envisions a social enterprise that emulates TOMS’s “one for one” business model. Buy a cape with a built-in backpack, say, and she’ll donate the same to help an itinerant in need.
“This first collection was designed based on the refugee crisis, there are still thousands of other issues in the world that need to be addressed and given a platform,” she said. “All future collections would attempt to tackle these crises, as well, so that the brand is always being shaped by what is occurring in the world, while still being versatile enough that they appeal to the consumer markets. The innovation of multifunctional design can be applied to many different scenarios, and there are only more innovations to come.”
If the medium is the message, then Luna says she hopes that her body of work will open up a discussion that extends beyond clothing.
“In no way are these clothes the solution; creating clothes that assist these refugees are not where this collection ends,” she said. “It ends with a discussion being created about human rights issues through unexpected platforms that have not been previously explored. The solution lies with education about global issues, and a stop to the violence.”