No more ugly robes: These stunning hospital gowns make patients feel like people again.

You've just checked into the hospital. What's the first thing you have to do?

Take off your clothes, put them in a canvas bag, and put on an itchy old hospital gown, of course.

There are practical reasons (well, sometimes) for those hideous, unisex creations. But few people like wearing hospital gowns, and it might be about more than them just being ugly.


In fact, recent studies have shown that being forced to wear an ill-fitting, nondescript gown can contribute to a feeling of stress and vulnerability for patients. These gowns may also cause doctors to see people as just patients rather than people, which ... isn't great.

That's why one group came up with a 100% improvement on those boring gowns.

All photos courtesy of Starlight Children's Foundation Canada.

They're called Ward+Robes and they design hospital gowns for teens — gowns that they'll actually want to wear.

Why teens? Trevor Dicaire, the senior vice president of development at Starlight Children's Foundation Canada (one of the organizations behind the project), says sick teens are often forgotten and underserved in hospitals, with so much charity going to younger kids.

And when it comes to identity, we all know how important it is for teenagers to be able to express themselves as they figure out who they are.

Ward+Robes teams up with volunteer artists, including heavy-hitter Izzy Camilleri (she used to design for A-list celebrities), to produce eye-popping creations.

The robes are then delivered to children's hospitals where teen patients can trade in their blegh-blue garments for something a little ... livelier.

Every teen in the program receives a gown for free, and Ward+Robes operates mostly on donations and volunteer services.

"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," Dicaire says.

"I was amazed to watch the teens walk in in their standard issue gowns and get super excited that they could go to this rack of robes and pick something that felt more like them," Dicaire says of the first time he saw the program in action.

"And the change in their faces — their smiles, they lit up."

The project kicked off at The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, but Ward+Robes has plans to expand soon.

And the coolest part? The teenagers get to keep the custom gowns, just in case they have to go back to the hospital again.

Or better yet, they can keep them as a reminder of recovery.

Dicaire says almost all of the people at hospitals he's spoken to have jumped at the opportunity instantly as a way to improve patient care, and the designers have really brought the project to life.

"All the designers went over and above and made numerous wardrobes for us. And the great thing about that was that it offered us to offer a true array of designs for kids to choose from."

The new robes won't make illnesses go away. But the morale boosts they give are super important.

Krista Raspor, one of the creative minds behind the project, says the robes are game changing for a lot of the kids she's worked with. "I spent time in the hospital as a teen and it sucked," she said. "Like, a lot."

"Wearing a hospital gown makes you feel like a number ... a sick, disenfranchised number. And I never really understood why it had to be that way."

Thanks to the hard work of Krista and her peers, it might not have to be that way for much longer. And that is no small feat.

Learn more about the impact a sweet-looking hospital gown can have and how you can help support the project, in the video below:

More
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular