Design for Cyclability & Design for Minimal Waste




Ballydavid, Dingle, Ireland

Circular Concept

Throw in the Towel


Born out of a creative urge to redirect textiles from landfill, Lilymais came up with the idea to save unused towels from a life of hot presses and cleaning rags. By repurposing them into beautiful, functional clothing, each Lilymais piece gives a second life to these textiles and replaces a fast fashion purchase.


Throw in the Towel

The circular challenge:

After assessing the current state, Lilymais identified their main circular challenges as being the offcuts from towels not used during production, and the life of their swim robes after the customer is finished with them.

The circular design strategy:

  • Design for Minimal Waste
  • Design for Cyclability

The NOW Solution: What circular solution was prototyped and what are the companies short-term circular goals?

In the short-term, Lilymais will implement a trade-in service for any robes purchased, launching at the Festival.

With this new service, customers can trade in their old LilyMais swimrobe and receive €50 towards a new one. Lilymais will send a pre-paid shipping label for you to post back the old one, with your new swimrobe!

They’ll then do what they can to give your old swimrobe a new life, or recycle in an environmentally friendly way. If you don’t want a new swimrobe, they are happy to simply take your old one back!

Lilymais are also developing an in-house process to develop a new fabric from their offcuts, which they will use to produce new one-off wearable pieces.


What were the main hurdles and lessons learnt from your prototyping phase?

Developing a new textile in-house from their offcuts, without the use of a mechanical recycling machinery.

The NEXT Solution: What are your bigger / longer-term circular goals for your brand?

  • To have fully closed the loop with the production of their SwimRobes by having zero waste.

Projected future impact: What is the expected positive impact - environmental, economic, social - from your longer term circular solution.

Lilymais hope to redirect at least 6 tonnes of towels from landfill per year by keeping them in use in their designs.They also hope to employ more staff in fulfilling, co-operative employment in the production of their garments.

What questions or uncertainties are you facing right now in terms of your circular development?

  • Their product needs to be honed to meet other customer needs (wearability, pricepoint, style) and their designs need to be updated for a contemporary market – this market needs to be identified and targeted.
  • Lilymais require investment and mentorship / support to expand their business to be financially sustainable, saleable and scalable while still aligning with their circular principles.

Call to Action:

To move from prototype to pilot, Lilymais is looking for the following supports:

  • financial investment, funding or grants to allow for prototyping, design development and collaboration

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