Upon entering a hospital not only do we dread the pain and the recovery process, but we also dread the food and that unflattering hospital gown with the butt flap that bares all. Let’s face it – no one, no matter how minor their malady, looks their best in hospital, but it’s almost comical wearing a gown that exposes all the wrong places.
A few years ago, ex army veteran Bob Beveridge took his wife to hospital to be treated for a broken wrist. She was supplied with a hospital gown and, like many, felt depressed and exposed.
“My wife just wanted to feel more like herself in hospital, which made me question why the outdated hospital gowns had never been updated over the years or designed better to ensure a bit of dignity,” said Beveridge.
He decided he wanted to revamp the hospital gown to give it more style and practicality. However, given he had worked in the army, police, and air force for 20 years, he had no idea about the fashion or startup world.
“I enrolled myself in a six month fashion production course and found myself learning alongside a lot of young women designing bikinis while I was focused on my hospital gowns,” said Beveridge.
After graduating from the fashion course, Beveridge created his first startup, Hospital Glamour, a Melbourne-based online fashion store for hospital gowns. For design, Beveridge looked at a number of high profile American celebrities and decided to create basic prints for men and two style prints for women. For the more mature aged woman, prints were inspired by Meryl Streep and for the younger woman, prints give off a Katy Perry vibe.
In terms of practicality the gowns have done away with the butt flap and instead open around the side. Hospital Glamour has added plastic clips down both sleeves so the whole front section can be removed for things like breastfeeding. The gowns also include a pocket for people to carry around their valuables when heading to the toilet or canteen.
“We’re not chalmers in hospital but you see these poor buggers walking down the hallway with their backside hanging out, they have their wallet under one arm with their little trolley and drip and I thought there’s got to be a better way to do this,” said Beveridge.
In the earlier days Hospital Glamour gowns were supplied with metal clips and were not compliant with imaging equipment. Beveridge has since removed all metal parts of the gown, replacing them with plastic and in the future aims to get the gowns authorised to be worn for imaging purposes like MRI’s and X-rays.
Every year 1.4 million Australians have a planned overnight hospital stay for elective surgery, and out of those over 200,000 are planned pregnancies. For new mums or people going in for surgery, Hospital Glamour is targeting planned hospital entries, or relatives and friends who would like to buy the gown as a gift.
“That special first photo taken of a newborn is often with their mum who’s dressed in an ugly, plain hospital gown, but now mums can be wearing ones that are not only fashionable but also make it easier to breastfeed in,” said Beveridge.
Hospital Glamour offers its gowns individually or in gift packs with other items like socks, headbands and bathrobes. The gowns start from $95 and the packs from $115.50. Beveridge said he is currently in talks with hospital gift shops, so people already in hospital and their relatives can purchase something other than a ‘get well’ balloon.
Along with hospital gowns and gift packs, Hospital Glamour also likes to recognise the amazing job the medical staff do for their patients. In addition to hospital gowns, the website allows people to nominate anyone that has helped them during their hospital stay.
Beveridge said, “We’re keen on the job that nurses do, but we think that other people in the hospital industry such as cleaning staff and volunteers also do a fantastic job. We supply a ‘well done’ certificate. I think this is really important because these people don’t get the recognition they deserve.”
Image: Bob Beveridge. Source: Supplied.