MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For more than two decades, Miami fashion designer René Ruiz has designed glamorous gowns worn by celebrities and public figures at red carpet events, galas, and runway shows. But now, Ruiz is going from the red carpet to hospital hallways designing transplant recovery gowns.

Designing under the brand “René by RR” out of his Aventura studio, he is giving back to the community and dedicating more time to philanthropy by creating a line of hospital gowns to help transplant patients during their recovery process at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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These gowns don’t have sequins or sexy hemlines. They are all about changing the lives of the patients.

“I came out with this hospital gown that is called a transplant recovery gown. It’s called Legacy by René because of the legacy we leave behind when we donate organs.”

Rene Ruiz JMH transplant recovery gowns (CBS4)

At a recent charity event, Ruiz was asked by a Jackson Health System’s manager if he would think about designing custom made hospital gowns for transplant patients recovering from complex surgeries.  Ruiz jumped right in.

“I spoke to many patients and nurses and technicians, and I gathered from them everything that they wanted, what will make their jobs and lives easier while they are recovering,” Ruiz said.

Nurse Suzanne Balbosa-Saunders said transplant patients have drains, lines, and catheters to deal with making mobility, and comfort difficult. She said when a patient tried the gown on it was magical.

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“We had a session with one of our patients and she offered to model the gown for us, and you should’ve seen her face when she put it on,” Balbosa- Saunders said. “She was so happy. She said this is the best gown she’s ever put on. It was so great seeing that. It gave me goosebumps.”

Rene Ruiz JMH transplant recovery gowns (Jackson Health)

Ruiz used softer, washable fabrics from Spain in the color of Jackson Memorial blue and paid special attention to areas where the lines would run through, creating pockets and snaps for privacy.

The recovery gowns, which will be rolled out at JMH very soon, were manufactured in Miami by Goodwill Industries of South Florida, an organization Ruiz has worked with before.

“65 percent of them in the workforce are mentally challenged and these are people that are actually making stuff in Miami, producing things in Miami. That was very important for me,” he explained.

For Ruiz, couture might be his namesake, but the Legacy by RR recovery gowns seems to be his calling.

“It’s amazing through the whole thing working in fashion shows, with stylists and models and photo shoots, but just doing this one hospital gown is so rewarding and so cool,” Ruiz said.

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Next for Ruiz is to design transplant recovery gowns for children as well. He also has plans on releasing a full ready to wear and resort collection for René by RR in Summer of 2022.

Lisa Petrillo