University of Wisconsin-Stout

Nov. 28, 2011

The traditional hospital gown, breezy and unattractive, has long been a target of criticism. A team of UW-Stout apparel design and development students has made it better.

The team recently took third place and won $5,000 in the Project Better Gown competition in Minneapolis sponsored by the Park Nicollet Foundation. Teams from the University of Minnesota and Purdue University took first and second, winning $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Members of the UW-Stout team are Angela Barron, of Lino Lakes, Minn.; Sara Kjos, of Hamburg, Minn.; Kathleen Magnuson, of Middleton; Carissa Reilly, of Saint Michael, Minn.; and Emily Smigla, of Farmington, Minn.

Features of the UW-Stout design include:

Drawbridge back to ensure patient modesty while still allowing accessibility for doctors.

Fasteners in the front so patients can easily get in and out of the gown.

Dri-lex fabric, which has antibacterial properties to help prevent infections while providing absorption and wicking properties to keep patients comfortable.

Park Nicollet Health Services owns the rights to the award-winning designs and hopes to produce them commercially.

The student design challenge drew 17 entries, including four from UW-Stout. Judges narrowed the field to nine finalists, which included three UW-Stout designs. The top nine were modeled during a fashion show at the Minneapolis Hilton.