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Úna Burke is a multi-award winning luxury leather accessories designer and artist.
Each piece is crafted entirely by hand in her South London Atelier using Vegetable Tanned Bovine Leathers and Solid Brass Fittings.
Úna Burke was born in a small village called Knockvicar, in County Roscommon in the West of Ireland. Her mother was a teacher and her father a farmer. They also kept guests in the family home, a wonderful old Georgian mansion called Riversdale House, which was formerly the residence of actress Maureen O'Sullivan, most famous for her role as Jane in the black and white Tarzan movies, and mother to actress Mia Farrow and Prudence Farrow, who inspired The Beetles song, "Dear Prudence". Growing up here with her four siblings, Úna enjoyed long summer days wandering through meadows by the shores of Lough Key, picking flowers and swaying on the swing or in a row-boat. Riversdale House is no longer a guesthouse but right next door the family now run a beautifully developed cluster of eco-friendly log-cabins called Riverhaven, receiving 5 stars on trip advisor and open to rent all year round.
Leaving home in 1998, Úna studied at Limerick School of Art and Design and completed a four year degree in Fashion Design. She then went on to work with several fashion houses around Ireland, before moving to London in 2006 where she began a Masters in Fashion Artefact at the prestigious Cordwainers College in London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Her graduate collection won the 2009 Design Award for Best Static Collection and she went on to win several more national and international Fashion, Art and Craft prizes, including 'Irish Designer of the Year' in 2011 and nomination for the WGSN Global Fashion Awards in 2012
Úna set up her eponymous brand in 2010 and still resides in London where she makes both seasonal fashion collections and sculptural art pieces using her traditional leather-working techniques in her distinctly complex constructions. The accessories collections are concept based and have human stories at their core, since influence is taken from psychological, military and medical sources. The Art pieces are also figurative in form and have the same inspiration. These are developed on a commission basis for private art collections, public exhibitions and museum archives. Úna's work has been exhibited in over twenty countries throughout the world and her clients and collaborators include New York Designer Phillip Lim, Seoul's Simone Handbag Museum, The National Museum of Ireland and and Nick Knights creative laboratory 'SHOWstudio'.
Úna Burke leather accessories are timeless, elegant, considered and sculptural. They are designed for the discerning customer who appreciates quality and creativity. All styles are crafted entirely by hand in the Úna Burke Atelier in South London and are made using only the best Vegetable Tanned leathers and solid brass fittings from the UK and Italy, earning the brand the 'Positive Luxury Butterfly Trust Mark'. With such an avant garde design style, it's little wonder that the brand has developed such a strong celebrity following all over the world. These include Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Heidi Klum, Lebanese singer and actress Haifa Wehbe, Taiwanese popstar Elva and fashion icon Daphne Guinness. Collections regularly appear in publications such as Vogue, i-D, Collezioni and Numero and they are stocked in stores worldwide, including Selfridges Department Store in London.
Aside from seasonal collections, Úna regularly collaborates with other designers and brands including unisex London brand Unconditional, Hong Kong boutique Joyce, lingerie label Lascivious, car brands Lexus and Rolls Royce and glassware brand Irish Handmade Glass Company. She has produced costumes for film and stage performances including an armbrace for Jennifer Lawrence,as Katniss Everdeen, in The Hunger Games, Catching Fire , Belts and Collars for the Avox of Donald Sutherland's character, President Snow, in The HUnger Games Mockingjay Part 1, a bodice for Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard, The Musical, and several pieces for a Baroque Opera Performance at Innsbruck Festival of Early Music.
Some other commission were with brands such as L’Oreal, Nars Cosmetics and London 2012 Olympics.