Famous fashion designer Rene Ruiz's latest philanthropic endeavour is winning hearts currently. He has curated a special collection of hospital gowns for transplant patients in Miami's Jackson Hospital.
Known for his exquisite red carpet looks, this was a complete yet welcoming departure for the 60-year-old designer, who has made outfits for actresses such as Sofia Vergara, Rebel Wilson, etc. These hospital gowns are to be used by patients after their operations and it is something they could feel comfortable in.
How It All Began?
Ruiz who extensively participates in his humanitarian activities, was no stranger to doing his bit for society. He has been involved in activities with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the like. Therefore, he was excited when Matthew Pinzur, Jackson Health System's Chief Marketing Officer, approached him with this proposition. In his own words to the People Magazine, the Miami-based fashion designer said he had 'stars in his eyes' and immediately got to work.
This little project is close to his heart as well. Speaking to the magazine, Rene Ruiz narrated a story about his employee from ten years ago. "In 2001, one of my fashion staffers had a son born with a congenital heart defect and within a week of his birth, he needed open-heart surgeries. We cut his onesies and put snaps to make it easier for the doctors to get access through the lines, and ultimately ideas bubbled in my head," he said.
In fact, the former staffer is a nurse in the same hospital and is still friends with the designer. Ruiz added that this creation came full circle and it was 'meant to be.'
'Legacy by Rene'
Before getting to the drawing board, Ruiz did some research. He took interviews of doctors, nurses and transplant patients in the hospital, asking them about how can such gowns be suitable and comfortable for the patients in question to wear. The suggestions included adding 'slits' in places where it is easier for the doctors to examine and look through an incision and other aspects.
The fabric used was a blend of cotton and poplin. It was specifically sourced from Spain and was manufactured in a South Florida company named Goodwill Industries. What makes this organisation stand out is its workforce that has given employment to transgenders and the mentally challenged. The gown was made in the hospital colours and had 'JH' emblazoned on it inside a heart. The collection is called 'Legacy by Rene.' It also had pockets inside and is easily accessible not just for the patients, but for the doctors as well during the procedure.
A Rewarding Experience
Ruiz surprised the hospital with the first batch of 4260 gowns back in June this year. The first patient to don his gown was a patient from Alabama who underwent a five-organ transplant. The second one hailed from Colombia. Their happiness was priceless, especially for the designer.
He said, "The look on the patients' faces means everything. I am so happy to have helped make their lives easier after the surgery." In fact, he even stated that designing such gowns was more 'rewarding' than his usual glamorous work.
Now, he is all set to add to his collection a set of general patient hospital gowns.