Second Skin

Second Skin

7 November 2014 – 25 January 2015


Second Skin7 November 2014 – 25 January 2015


The global fashion industry is conservatively estimated to be worth $1.3 trillion USD, it is one of the biggest industries and sources of employment in developing countries. It consumes an unimaginable and unsustainable amount of natural resources on an annual basis.

Exploring the links between consumption and production, Second Skin has sought to develop collaborations between Irish fashion designers, woollen mills and textile producers, digital fabric producers, tailors, retailers and upcyclers. The exhibition will include a mixture of work from existing collections and work resulting from collaborations plus an interactive and participative space exploring recent international developments in sustainable fashion production. Second Skin posed a challenge to four Irish fashion labels - Jennifer Rothwell, Joanne Hynes, NATALIEBCOLEMAN and Lennon Courtney - to design, source and produce a garment or range of clothing on the island of Ireland and to document the opportunities and challenges in doing so. In the realisation of these garments, designers collaborated with and were supported by a myriad of third level institutes, organisations and producers in Dublin, Donegal, Derry, Kilkenny and Wicklow.

Louise Allen, exhibition curator hopes that: "Second Skin will help to create a dialogue and raise further awareness in order to empower people to make conscious and informed choices; choices that support and foster pride in our indigenous and internationally recognised fashion designers. It is my ambition that the dialogues and conversations supported by research currently being undertaken into manufacturing and production on the island of Ireland will provide a very real foundation for future investment in the sector and in the fashion industry."

Read the full curator's text.

On Tour

The Playhouse, 5 – 7 Artillery Street, Derry ~ Londonderry 8 June 2015 – 16 July 2015

Second Skin is one of the core exhibitions in the Irish Design 2015 touring programme that highlights the calibre of Irish design across a broad range of disciplines. Second Skin first opened in the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland on 7th November 2014 and is now touring as part of the Irish Design 2015 programme to The Playhouse in Derry – Londonderry where it will officially open on Tuesday 16th June at 6pm by Councillor Elisha McCallion, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The Main Guard, Clonmel 3 November 2015 – 23 December 2015

Second Skin commissioned four of Ireland’s leading fashion labels - JRothwell, Joanne Hynes, NATALIEBCOLEMAN and Lennon Courtney - to design, source and produce a garment or range of clothing on the island of Ireland and to document the opportunities and challenges which the process presented. The commission may sound like a simple proposition, but the reality of sourcing and making clothing in Ireland is not straightforward. Their journey, which brings to life their inspiration and process through to the finished pieces, forms the basis of Second Skin which opens at The Main Guard, Sarsfield Street, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary on Tuesday 3rd of November and runs until Wednesday the 23rd of December 2015.

Official opening on Wed 4 November at 6pm  (to be opened by curator Louise Allen)

Opening times;

Tuesday- Saturday 10am- 5pm | Closed Sundays & Mondays | Free Admission

This project is presented by South Tipperary Arts Centre in partnership with kind support of the OPW & Tipperary County Council

Education & Outreach

Curator’s Tour in Conversation 7 Nov, 5.30pm

Join us for an introduction to Second Skin with curator Louise Allen, in conversation with some of the commissioned designers. This will be followed by the exhibition launch at 6.30pm by Eddie Shanahan, an international business and product development consultant for the fashion, craft and retail sectors and Chairperson of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers.

Saturday Sewing Sessions 8 Nov, 22 Nov, 6 Dec, 17 Jan & 24 Jan 10am-2pm

Make a garment from a pattern with Joan Brennan, fashion designer and educator. These guided making sessions will teach you the basics of working with a pattern, cutting, pinning, shaping, sewing and finishing your garment. This four hour intensive Saturday workshop session will equip you with new skills and give you the confidence to make your own garment from scratch. Participants are welcome to bring your own sewing machine or work from the shared machines. €15 per participant, Booking is required, email: FULLY BOOKED

Studio Floor: Access to Studio Space 7 Nov - 25 Jan

Throughout the Second Skin exhibition we offer Gallery 1 as a drop-in Studio where fashion designers / textile artists / sewing enthusiasts can come in and make garments. Utilise patterns we providing or work on your own project. A suite of sewing machines, as well as overlockers and a buttonhole machine will be available to competent users. Or come in and take some time to learn more about ethical fashion by browsing our reading library and video tutorials. Full and half day studio slots are available throughout the exhibition run, to hold a slot please email with preferred dates and your level of experience in using the machines.

Kilkenomics Event: Second Skin - The Economics of Fashion 8 Nov, 4.15pm – 5.30pm

Venue: Cleeres, Parliament Street, Kilkenny
The global fashion industry is worth US$1.3 trillion. It is one of the biggest industries and employers in developing countries. It consumes an unimaginable and unsustainable amount of natural resources on an annual basis. It is addictive, sexy and subject to enormous advertising spending. Fashion gets into heads as well as into pockets, but do ethics have a place in fashion economics? Is it the ultimately symbol of the gap between the rich and poor or is it a force for good?

Contributors: Eleanor Tiernan, Peter Antonioni, Jennifer Rothwell, Margot Wasz and Joanne Hynes.

€15/€13 Event booking through

Open Circle Arts Workshops: Social Fabric, a collaborative embroidery project facilitated by Dee Harte 20 Nov, 10am, 1pm & 6.30pm

Social Fabric: Portraits of Kilkenny Women is a project initiated by the women of Open Circle Arts, Co. Kilkenny. The Open Circle participants invited women from throughout Kilkenny to join them in the creation of a collaborative embroidered artwork facilitated by textile artist Dee Harte in February 2014.

Due to great demand Social Fabric has become an ongoing community project with thanks to Kilkenny Arts Office, The Department of Community and Culture (Kilkenny County Council) and International Women’s Day. The project is both collaborative and distinctly individual and has so far resulted in a collection of 60 portraits. The workshops create a space in the lives of all who take part to meet new people, chat, laugh, debate and create.

Find out more about Open Circle  or to book a place on one of our portrait workshops email

LATE DATE: Meet the Tailor with Adrian Cashin 27 Nov, 6.30pm

LATE DATE: Meet the Tailor with Adrian Cashin, The Tailor's House, Kilkenny

Adrian Cashin continues the family tailoring business set up by his father and uncle, with over 120 years collective experience The Tailor's House Kilkenny has created bespoke suits for the men of Kilkenny for the best part of a century. Adrian shows us some of this family archive of patterns dating back from the 1920s and talks us through the process of a creating a bespoke suit. He explains what sets a tailored suit apart from the crowd and gives the gentlemen some tips to keep your suits in great shape.

Family Day: Fairytales in Stitch With Caroline Schofield 13 Dec, 10.30am & 12 noon

13 Dec, 10.30am & 12 noon

Join textile artist Caroline Schofield for a morning of stories and stitch. Caroline will share with the children how she collaborated with fashion designer Natalie B Coleman in designing fabric for the Second Skin project. Taking inspiration from this piece the children will collaborate to create a group textile piece that will stay in the gallery for the duration of the Second Skin exhibition. Suitable for children aged 5 – 13 years old, but all the family is welcome to stay and take part.

Booking through 056 9677151 or email

LATE DATE: Up-cycle Jumper Jam 18 Dec, 6.30pm

Bring along a jumper in need of a fresh look and put your stitching skills to good use to up-cycle it into the ultimate festive accessory – a hand finished Christmas jumper. Learn embroidery and appliqué techniques that will help you make your jumper stand out from the crowd. Make a date with a friend, bring an old jumper to re-design and we will supply the sparkle, threads, festive music and refreshments.

Family Day: Second Skin Children’s Studio Session 10 Jan, 10.30am & 12 noon

The Second Skin Studio Floor is throwing open its doors for the morning and inviting children to become designers and makers. Taking inspiration from the exhibition, children will design their own unique wearable garment from an old piece of clothing. Add, subtract, stitch, rip or twist to create a one-of-a-kind piece of fashion. Children will be supervised in using the tools on offer on the Second Skin Studio Floor. Suitable for children aged 5 – 13 years old, parents encouraged to stay for this session.

Booking through 056 9677151 or email

Masterclass: Twisted Layers, Translating Origami Techniques in Fabric Thursday 22 Jan, 2pm | €25

Award winning Irish Fashion Designers Natalie B Coleman and Ana Faye will lead a skills based intensive workshop for emerging fashion designers. Twisted Layers Masterclass will focus on translating origami techniques into 3d fabric forms. Using these new origami inspired skills, participants will be guided through transforming a plain bodice/dress shape into various intricate finished design pieces. Each participant will gain familiarity in a number of cut and sew methods as well as several different pattern-drafting approaches, which will be mastered on the day. Full details here

Places limited, to book contact | 056 7796151


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