IKC3 reaches 300+ students via ‘HABERDASHERY – Circular & Sustainable Design Skills’ programme

Ireland’s Knowledge Center for Carbon Climate and Community Action (IKC3) and the CIRCBIO research group at MTU have a strong track record in supporting education & outreach activities to advance sustainability knowledge and climate action initiatives.  


HABERDASHERY is a two-day design challenge where senior cycle students develop their research and design skills to create circular and sustainable product ideas for clothing, sportswear, footwear, bags or accessories. Over 300 Transition Year students took part in the January 2024 event, the largest event of its kind to ever take place in Ireland. 


Participants develop their eco-design and entrepreneurial skills to create conceptual sustainable fashion products and services, embracing the business models of the circular economy. Guest speakers from industry included our homegrown designers Paul Galvin of Keohane Athletic ClubAoife McNamara and Shane Hassett CEO of WAZP, a Kerry based company who specialise in additive manufacturing of footwear, homeware and accessories. 


Dr Helena McMahon, Director, IKC3 Project at MTU outlines the success of the programme: 

“We are incredibly proud to be able to bring so many transition year students on this journey about circularity and sustainability through the IKC3 Project at MTU. There is a fundamental need to radically change the business model of low-cost high-volume retail and embrace biobased, renewable and sustainable materials and manufacturing. Consumers, in particular Gen Z and Millennials have a lot of power to drive change within these sectors and to increase demand for transparency and sustainability commitments across the design industry. This influences the value and attention they afford to brands, which is hugely encouraging.”  


Eve Savage, Educational Designer, IKC3 Project  

“The premise of the HABERDASHERY programme is to weave climate and sustainability topics along with knowledge of European and Irish policy that are influencing the design sector via the EU Green Deal, Circular Economy Strategy & Textiles Strategy. Using a design sprint methodology students work in teams and develop highly valuable transversal skills including problem-solving, communication, teamwork and creativity.” 


Global data demonstrates that the clothing & footwear sectors have the 4th  highest use of primary raw material and water, after food, housing and transport. Of the 5.8 million tonnes of textiles that EU consumers alone discard every year only 1% is recycled into new fibers for clothing with the non-reusable fraction being mostly downcycled into industrial rags, upholstery filling and insulation, with vast quantities being incinerated or landfilled.  


Clothing brand founder, Paul Galvin spoke to the students about the importance of storytelling and cultural meaning for brands to resonate with customers on an emotional level. Paul says “The Haberdashery program at MTU has been a great platform for product designers, researchers, and brands looking to do meaningful, sustainable business for the future. The program also opens the door for students and young people to learn the many career opportunities born out of the technology that seeks to support positive climate action and circularity for businesses.” 


Shane Hassett CEO of WAZP.io detailed the technological and AI innovations within the additive manufacturing sector that promote the use of bio-based and renewable materials and entirely circular business models. Shane says“The Haberdashery Event is an important initiative that strives to make young people aware of the possibilities available to them and the impact that their ideas, effort and passion can have on the world of fashion and the world in general. At WAZP we look forward to seeing these students help us shape a future of ethical manufacturing.” 


Aoife McNamara is CEO of a successful Irish wool design company ‘Aoife’ creating vibrant ranges using traditional spun and woven yarns. Aoife detailed the authenticity of her brand and its commitment to sustainability across all aspects of the business.  Aoife says “It was an honor to speak at the HABERDASHERY event. Empowering transition year students with a profound understanding of sustainability in business is not merely an investment in education; it’s a catalyst for a future where every decision is a conscious choice, every innovation is a sustainable leap, and every leader is an advocate for a thriving planet and prosperous business. Together, we shape a future where sustainability is not just a concept, but a commitment woven into the fabric of every business endeavor.” 


IKC3 is funded under the Human Capital Initiative examining and meeting skill gaps within industry and civic society to enable a transition to low carbon futures, led by Munster Technological University (MTU) and in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD).  As part of the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group (CIRCBIO) at MTU, IKC3 benefits from world recognised expertise within bioeconomy research, education, and the promotion of circular economy principles.  


MTU wants to thank the staff and students from participating schools for their participation in the HABERDASHERY 2024 programme and continued engagement across the range of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) outreach programmes offered by the university.  


Participating schools:  

  • Mounthawk Secondary School, Tralee  
  • Killorglin Community College  
  • St. Pats CBS, Castleisland  
  • Causeway Comprehensive  
  • The Green CBS Tralee 
  • Killorglin Intermediate School 
  • Presentation Tralee 


If your school or business would like to participate in or contribute towards the HABERDASHERY programme please contact Eve Savage, Educational Designer, Eve.Savage@mtu.ie 

Listen here to Ours to Protect on Radio Kerry which featured the HABERDASHERY project