Designers Create Cool Hospital Gowns to Help Sick Teens Feel Better

Ward+Robes give teens the chance to feel like their real selves. (Photo: Starlight Canada/YouTube)

No one wants to spend time in a hospital, especially not a teen. But for some kids, the hospital is a way of life for weeks, months or even years on end.

The teenage years are a time to rebel, express yourself and get a better sense of who you really are. It's hard enough to do that out in the real world. But for teens who are stuck in a hospital due to a serious injury or illness, that role becomes almost impossible to fulfill. In a hospital you have no control, few choices and a limited palette for self-expression.

That's where Ward+Robes come in. The program, launched by the Starlight Children's Foundation Canada, tapped fashion designers to create unique and interesting gowns for teens to wear while they are in the hospital.

Instead of papery white or baby-blue gowns covered in stars or swirls, teens at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, Canada were able to choose from gowns featuring tribal designs, skulls, camo and other patterns more appealing to teenagers.

And as you can see in the video above, the result was nothing short of transformative.

"When I first saw the gowns I saw empowerment in teenagers in a place where they don’t have any," said one of the teens.

"This gown lets me be who I am outside of the hospital and outside of being ill," said another.

Toronto designer Izzy Camilleri was one of several designers who donated her time and materials toward the project. She has worked with the likes of Meryl Streep and the late, great David Bowie. Yet, she said this project actually meant so much more to her.

The Starlight Children's Foundation gifted the gowns to the teens at the Ottawa hospital, and they are hoping to do the same at other hospitals throughout Canada and North America. They also have an online kit anyone can use to submit a gown design. Trevor Dicaire, vice president of development at Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, told Canada's CTV News that the hope is that teens themselves will submit their own ideas for designs they want to see on hospital gowns.

Check out the Ward+Robes site to find out how you can donate to the project or submit your own design.