Through her work Úna Burke continually aims to create leather objects which are both visually captivating and technically challenging. They are pieces of wearable art which are indefinable as particular garments, preventing them from being placed into the conventional categories of the fashion industry. They are free to exist just as the objects that they are, interpreted independently by each individual. Úna uses traditional leatherworking techniques to produce these evocative, conceptual creations. In doing this she hopes to encourage a new and more modern appreciation for leather craftsmanship and present the possibilities achievable through the use of this material in both the areas of art and of functional design.
RE.TREAT COLLECTION – AW2010
This is a conceptual collection of wearable art pieces, depicting a series of eight human gestures associated with the cause, the physical and psychological effect and the healing stages of human trauma. Sculptural forms are created around the shape of the contorted female body. A number of pieces are reminiscent of prosthetics and medical braces. This signifies the potential for healing within the boundaries of something which inhibits the body. Carcass-like in form, each piece is hand crafted from vegetable tanned leather, resulting in a colour indicative of human flesh. They have been produced to be viewed as contemplation artefacts observed in the environment of the gallery and they can be used as fashion accessories when broken down into sections, such as arm pieces, leg pieces, head or neck pieces and shoulder pieces. They could be combined with other garments in flowing fabrics which would create beautiful contrasts with the structured forms of these pieces.
META.MORPH – AW2011
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY (COLOUR IMAGES): ANDREAS WALDSCHUETZ; COLLODIAN WETPLATE PHOTOGRAPHY (BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES): DIRECTED BY ANDREAS WALDSCHUETZ AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY STEFFAN SAPPERT; CREATIVE DIRECTION, STORYLINE AND STYLING BY ADIA TRISCHLER; MAKE-UP BY STEFANIE LAMM; HAIR BY PATRICK GLATTHAAR; MODEL: KAMILA BLACZYK AT LOOK MODELS INTERNATIONAL
Úna Burke is a fashion and accessories designer specialising in the use of traditional leather-working techniques. Having developed her unique construction technique Úna creates body pieces which are often concept based, with influence taken from psychology, prosthetics, medical braces and military uniforms. In her work Úna enjoys taking negative topics and developing them into positive final products. Born and brought up in the west of Ireland and Úna now works from her studio in South London. She completed a BA in Fashion Design in Ireland in 2003 and then worked in several design studios including those of Philip Treacy and Burberry. Returning to study in 2007, Úna 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”. Her sculptural leather pieces have since featured in exhibitions, catwalk shows, film festivals and trend forecasting events in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the US, China, Austria, Ireland, Greece and Hong Kong. Úna has won eight Irish awards in the areas of Craft and Design and has been shortlisted for several other prizes both nationally and internationally. Included in this list is the accessories category of ‘ITS #EIGHT’ held in Trieste in 2009, the ‘Golden Fleece Award 2010’ in Dublin and the London based art award ‘176/ Zabludowicz Collection Future Map Prize 2009’. Most recently, Úna has been awarded ‘Designer of the Year’ at Irelands “Fashion Innovation Awards 2011”, and just last month, her graduate collection was selected by the ‘World Crafts Council’, for the “Crafts of Europe” exhibition in Frankfurt this June. Úna was also nominated for the ‘Judges Award for best Irish Designer’ at the “Most Influential in Fashion Awards” in Dublin earlier this month and the film inspired by her AW11 collection, was shown at the fashion event ‘4FASHION/SHAKE’ in Athens on April 6th.