Health care workers deserve fashion too

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One of the more unexpected side effects of the pandemic was to change our relationship with personal protective equipment forever; To make medical clothing, at least in the mask sense, a new accessory of self-expression and a part of almost every wardrobe. And the arsenal of every designer.

Now this relationship is entering a new phase. Josie is joining forces with Natori, a designer known for her loungewear and lingerie care + wear, “Healthwear” company known for its fashion approach to clothing with PICC line covers and port access, to present a row of scrubs Modeled on her best-selling pajamas.

Ms. Natori is the latest entrant in a growing effort to reimagine one of the largest, and most overlooked, professional fields as the Next Great Fashion Frontier.

Last month, for example, FIGS, the scrub brand that was introduced in 2013 and marketed as Lululemon of medical clothing, went public With shares sold in excess of the anticipated range and a valuation of about $4.5 billion. know you, founded the same year and known for scrubs that include names like gold zippers, peplum and “princess top”, is reportedly also considering an IPO.

And those are just the major names in the competitive pool that includes someone, scrubs “wellness” brand (which also collaborates with Betsy Johnson for some patterned scrubs), wonderwink and gray’s anatomy (well of course).

According to Fortune Business Insights, The global market for medical clothing, with scrubs and surgical gowns being the largest segment, stood at $86.15 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $140 billion by 2028. With all, US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that health care-related jobs were expected to grow by 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, adding 2.4 million new jobs, or “more jobs than any other occupational groups.”

They all need clothes for work.

And though some doctors were moving away from scrubs before the pandemic, the past year has made them even more important.

“It is a way that everyone in the hospital can express themselves,” said Chaitanya Razdan, founder of Care + Wear, which he started in 2014 on the premise that people dealing with medical issues feel like people. should, not the patients. And part of that is dressing like a person.

“When you think about how we express ourselves when we go to work, it’s crazy that nurses and doctors haven’t been given that opportunity historically,” Mr. Razdan said. As dress codes are being reevaluated everywhere, including in financial institutions and schools, why should medical workers be exempt?

This is especially given the way the pandemic moves health care workers to the center of the cultural conversation, turning them into heroes – and the rise of the athleisure, which has expanded the designer realm into stretchy, casual clothing. extended within the range. It’s not a great conceptual leap to believe that scrubs located somewhere between pajamas and performance clothing deserve equal treatment.

Scrubs, which take their name from the fact that they are worn in scrubbed environments, according to the history of operating room attire American College of Surgeons, was first mentioned by a surgeon in 1894. But they didn’t come into widespread use in hospitals until the 1940s. (Doctors used only aprons over their suits.) Scrubs initially made in white changed to their familiar green color as the white mixed with the white of most operating rooms under bright light.

Traditionally, most scrubs for medical personnel were provided by hospitals and medical programs and therefore default to a common denominator: unisex, shapeless enough to fit any body, and strong enough to withstand industrial laundry. .

Dr. Donald Macdonald, ophthalmologist and oculoplastic and reconstructive eye surgeon with Riverview Medical Center in New Jersey, said he began wearing scrubs in medical school (he graduated in 1980), and since then, no matter what, he Anywhere in the world, “they are all the same.”

While hospitals still provide operating room scrubs, this has increasingly been left to individuals to purchase their own uniforms. This means that large uniformed organizations such as Dickey’s and Cherokee have historically produced unisex cotton scrubs used by hospitals (which are less expensive and purchased in bulk), direct-to-consumer start-ups. The doors have been opened for those who want to disrupt. Market. The group of surgeons held their first “Statement on Operating Room Attire“In 2016.

Outpatient facilities such as plastic surgery offices and dental clinics pioneered fashion scrubs, but they have now filtered to the general medical population.

“People have started collecting them,” said Marina Hartnick, 25, who is in her final semester of nursing school at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, and who is partial to FIGS Skinny Scrubs. Although Massachusetts General has scrubs that operating room staff can use, Ms Hartnick said she has rarely seen anyone take advantage of them. Most employees want to wear their own.

Kim Zafra, 29, an acute care nurse practitioner at Mount Sinai in New York and one of the test subjects for Care+Ware x N Natori, owns 10 to 15 pairs. But until recently, she said: “I never thought of them as anything that could make you feel good in the workplace. It’s weird that we’re feeling it right now. “

Ms Natori, who said she has “at least 20 uncles, aunts and cousins ​​who are doctors and nurses,” met Mr Razdan in early 2020 through an initiative called Fashion for the Front Lines, which was promoted by the retail world. was created to be included. Sourcing, manufacturing and distribution of PPE during COVID. They began to discuss the possibility of scrubs.

“We talk about people too much: too much stuff, too many clothes, too many choices,” Ms Natori said. “But this is not true of the health care worker.”

The fashion evolution of scrubs can be hard to detect with the naked eye. It’s not like they are taffeta or come with ruffles or have different hemlines. And most hospitals have rules about the colors that are used to denote floors and specifications, so suddenly showing up in leopard print or awning stripes as the mood strikes isn’t really an option. (When it comes to scrub caps, there are more options.)

However, within the confines of the Scrub specifications, there is wiggle room for design. The challenge is how to balance the desires of the individual with the demands of the institution.

“Definitely fit makes a big difference,” said Ms. Hartnick, a nursing student. It helped build confidence “when you’re constantly moving around in new rooms and meeting new people.” You’re not worrying about the pens falling out of pocket or that your top will pop open and expose you when you bend over.

The first real success came with pants, specifically jogger-style scrubs, ribbed at the ankles, like sweatpants, which are usually the most popular style. Now almost every brand, whether it’s a mass supplier or one of the newer fashion-forward names, offers a jogger as an option. There are also slim fit, cargo style and flared scrubs.

Similarly, tops have become less boxy, and the fabrication is increasingly technically breathable, wicking moisture, and allowing for layering.

According to FIGS co-chief executive Heather Hassan, the company offers 13 different styles, including a sleeveless scrub top and a fleece, which Ms. Hassan calls “the first jacket designed indoors.”

As far as the Care+Wear x N Natori look, which is a long-term partnership, there are two pant styles in the four most common hospital colors for both men and women, as well as three shirt options for women and There will be two options for men. Later in the year by more drops. The style is mainly in the details: pockets with zips slightly offset from each other, cuts that dip longer in the back, trapunto stitching at the neck, and strategically placed loops for hanging ID tags. Pockets also play a big role in mixing up scrubs and allowing up to 20 in one outfit.

When Mr. Macdonald, the ophthalmologist, brought Natori scrubs to his office so his staff could try them, “he made everyone happy,” he said. He seemed perplexed while discussing about the designer scrub. He didn’t feel like it would make any difference.

Ms Natori feels her Fashion Week peers can follow her lead, and expand her scope to medical clothing. “I don’t see why not,” she said. “Fashion is always looking for new markets, and that’s really exciting.”



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