Internationally renowned fashion designer, Úna Burke, recently announced that she has moved back to her native Knockvicar in Co. Roscommon from London where she had established her successful brand.
The designer, whose unique leather creations have been worn by global stars such as Lady Gaga and Rihanna, arrived home in January with her partner Emmett and their nine-month-old son Leo.
“I was very fortunate to move home from London to Knockvicar in January just before the very first cases of Covid-19 arose in the UK. We are living the life in the countryside and very glad not to be stuck in our apartment in London, which we loved. However, it would have been very difficult right now because Leo is so young,” she said.
The Úna Burke brand was established in 2010 in the wake of the last recession, but despite its baptism of fire it went from strength to strength in the English capital. Úna’s partner Emmett later joined her in London and became an integral part of the business.
“My partner Emmett moved over in 2014. We had worked together in Dublin at a clothing brand and then did ‘long distance’ when I moved to London. He takes care of the business side of things while I do all the creative things so it works really well,” she said.
Úna was eager to put her skills to use in order to help the valiant efforts of frontline staff during lockdown and the company raised thousands of euro for charities.
“I really wanted to see what I could do to help with my skills (during lockdown) but I just didn’t have time (to make masks, etc.) with Leo being so young.
“Instead, we are having a charity sale of the stock we have on hand. Currently there is 40% off all stock items and 25% off all sale items and we have raised more than €3,000 for three different charities so far. The charities are Pieta House; Safe Ireland, which helps those going through domestic abuse; and the London Irish Covid-19 Appeal, who deliver food packages and support to elderly Irish people in London,” she said.
While it has been a busy few months, Úna believes the decision to move back to Ireland is already paying off in terms of work-life balance.
“We’re now ten years in business and things are going well. Even through this Covid-19 pandemic we’ve been really busy here. We’ve moved the studio and our home back to Knockvicar and while it was a big upheaval, we managed to set up a studio space in my dad’s house, where I grew up.
“With Emmett and me working together we are managing to balance things and Leo gets to have us both around, which is great for him and his development,” she sa