A group of designers have teamed up with the Starlight Foundation Canada and Rethink Marketing to give the dreaded generic gowns a makeover in a bid to brighten the lives of sick teens who spend a large chunk of their time in hospitals.
The project, called Ward+Robes, has already produced 100 unique gowns using material and talent donated by young designers.
The first lot of gowns were distributed to sick teens across Canada, with their reactions captured on video.
"This gown lets me be who I am outside of the hospital and outside of being ill," one girl said in the tape.
“I feel like I’m myself. It doesn’t feel like I’m in a hospital anymore,” said another teen.
"Anything that we're able to do to bring some positivity, some distraction, some joy to children in hospitals is pretty much what we're all about."
So why target teens specifically? Aaron Starkman, creative director of Rethink says, “Individuality is so, so important when you’re a teenager. That gets stripped away from you when you’re in a hospital, unfortunately.
“You’re forced to wear the exact same boring thing everyone else has to wear. All of a sudden, [your individuality] is gone.”
Previous research has likened hospital gowns to the orange jumpsuits of prisoners.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested allowing the use of unique and personal clothing “would help people maintain their self-esteem and orientation and would also remind their care professionals to recognise them as people.”
"This gown lets me be who I am outside of the hospital and outside of being ill."
"Anything that we're able to do to bring some positivity, some distraction, some joy to children in hospitals is pretty much what we're all about," says Trevor Dicaire, the senior vice president of development at Starlight Children's Foundation Canada.