Úna Burke is a luxury leather accessories designer who employs traditional leather-working skills to create intricate forms from vegetable tanned cow hide. Born and brought up in North County Roscommon, in the west of Ireland, Burke works from her studio in Earlsfield, South London. She completed a BA in Fashion Design at Limerick School of Art and Design in 2003, and then worked in several Irish and UK design studios including those of Philip Treacy and Burberry. Returning to study in 2007, she received a distinction in her MA in Fashion Artefact and her graduate collection, RE.TREAT, won the London College of Fashion Off Catwalk Award for Design 2009. In the following months, Burke was shortlisted for ITS #EIGHT, featured in Vogue Italia and invited by Vogue's fashion editor Sara Maino, to present her work during Milan Fashion Week.
Burke has since has won eight Design and Craft Awards, including Irish Designer of the Year 2011, and has been shortlisted for several other prizes both nationally and internationally. Her sculptural leather pieces have featured in exhibitions, catwalk shows, films, music festivals and trend forecasting events throughout the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Singapore, Hungary, the US, China, Austria, Greece and Hong Kong.
She was nominated for the 2012 Golden Fleece awards, and for the Breakthrough Designer Category in WGSN’s Global Fashion Awards. Her A/W 11 film META.MORPH was selected by Diane Pernet and her panel of industry experts, for A Shaded View On Fashion Film Festival 4, and her work was showcased in Singapore's World Runway Premiere for Fox Network, helping to raise £25,000 for Japan Quake Aid.
Since graduating, the designer’s work has been photographed by Nick Knight, David Bailey, Francois Nars; styled by Patti Wilson, Nicola Formichetti, Charlotte Stockdale; and worn by style icons like Rihanna, Daphne Guinness and Lady Gaga, among others. Her work has also featured in top magazines including Vogue Italia, Harper's Bazaar, i-D, Grazia, Collezioni, Numéro, Arena, Dazed & Confused.