So you’re into fashion. You want to design things. Yet you also want to contribute in a way that helps people. What do you do? Well! You work out a way to profit from an emerging market of all-terrain scaling bad asses who are taking to the mountains and you use your profit from the sales of your unique product to fund your social enterprise.
Let’s meet Angela Luna, the young fashion designer who has created a wearable tent. A wearable what? A tent! This design is making serious changes for refugees and the homeless, giving them warmth, discretion and dignity in their time of need. It is also functional and a fantastic addition to the wardrobe of the intrepid traveler.
This beautiful quote sums it up so well:
“I started to question my interest in design… I was even considering switching majors and going to a different school for political science or something… Then it became more of just figuring out how to use what I have — design — to help these people and to try to do more than just make clothing.” [source]. You can watch her Forbes ’30 under 30′ video here.
I love everything about this. Using her strengths and skills, Angela has found a meaningful way to help people facing hardship. She is being clever and creative and injecting colour into what is often a very glib, grey topic. We often feel so overwhelmed when we think about helping refugees. Angela’s ability to look at that horrifying scene in front of her and see a patch of blue in the sky that she can pick at and open up is so uplifting.
Since finding out about Angela (thank you to my beautiful friend who told me her story) I am often reminded of her and what she is doing as I go about my day. It honestly stops me short how simple yet effective her solution is. People in refugee camps do not have the luxury of space for blankets AND tents AND coats. Despite the best of intentions, the goods given are often in disrepair or not suitable for purpose. Then what happens if these people have to up and move? Angela’s design removes some of the hardship by pulling some of the most essential items needed into a single, wearable product.
I often feel pulled from different directions and like I should be helping all of these people or assisting in all sorts of scenarios. I want to help. But sometimes it is just too much. I like the idea of playing to my strengths. I like the idea of keeping it simple and working out the best way that I can contribute. I feel like learning about Angela has given me a little bit of relief from the pressure I put on myself to solve the problems I see around me, and instead to sit and observe and consider the best way that I can get involved, acting when I know that I have that solution that is going to really hit the mark for both me and the cause I have been able to focus in on. Angela is a true icon of hope and demonstrates that we are ALL useful and can contribute to the world, often in ways that we might not have realised when we started out on our journeys.
Thank you to the following sites: