The fashion designers creating edgy hospital gowns for teens battling serious illness

Being a teenager is not easy. Being a teenager with a disease that puts you in and out of hospital is even harder.

That’s why fashion designers have teamed up with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada to create hospital gowns that give teenagers a chance to be themselves – to celebrate their individuality, their awesomeness and their strength – as they fight against illness.


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Starlight Children’s Foundation is a global initiative designed to help lift the spirits of children battling illness. Starlight Canada has recently launched Ward+Robes, an incredible program for sick teens.

Anyone who has spent time in a hospital ward and donned the required outfit knows how awkward and awful those ugly dressing gowns can make you feel. They are starchy, uncomfortable and incredibly unflattering. To a teen, especially one that is spending a long time in hospital, wearing one of those ugly gowns is like taking away their last strip of individuality and self-expression.

While many hospitals in Australia allow their patients to wear normal clothing, this isn’t the case in Canada and all patients must wear a mandatory hospital gown.

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“When you can’t wear what you want, you feel like you’re just a hospital patient,” one of the teens admits in the moving video that explains the Ward Robes story.

This is how Ward+Robes came about. Ward Robes are individual gowns that meet hospital standards, but with a real fashion edge.

Izzy Camelleri is one of the fashion designers on the project. She’s worked with such greats as David Bowie and Meryl Streep, but says working with Ward+Robes  means so much more.

“Being a teen is not as easy thing. Ever. Being a teen with some serious health problems, I can only imagine, is like, the most challenging thing in the world,” she says.

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It takes optimism, courage and strength to battle an illness and while the lives of these teens are uncertain, this incentive is a beautiful example of how the little things can make a world of difference.

Sure, there may only be bits of material, but, for these teens, Ward+Robes allow them to be themselves.

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Starlight Foundation Canada is on the lookout for more designers as well as donations. While there is no need to Ward Robes in Australia as sick children and teens can wear what they like, Starlight Australia are dedicated to helping sick kids through their other programs including visits from Captain Starlight, Starlight Express Room programs for sick kids and their Livewire program for sick teens.

If you do have something to give, you can donate to Starlight Australia through their website and check out Ward+Robes to see how you can help.

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