No stranger to an OFFSET main stage, Úna spoke at our Limerick event to her old alma mater. She is an award winning luxury leather accessories designer and artist. Using traditional leather working techniques in her complex constructions Úna makes both seasonal fashion accessories and sculptural pieces.
Shortly after graduating I was selected as a finalist in the “ITS #EIGHT” competition in Trieste. Here I met with hugely influential people such as Diesel founder Renzo Rosso and the Senior Fashion Editor at Vogue Italia, Sara Maino. This then led me to other fantastic opportunities such as showing at Milan Fashion Week where my work was exposed to great international press and buyers resulting in more great projects, collaborations, sales and press coverage.
Úna’s creations have been worn by Lady Gaga, can be seen in The Hunger Games worn by Jennifer Laurence and have more recently featured on Taylor Swift’s video for Bad Blood.
These projects are really fun as I can be very creative in the development of pieces specifically for film and music videos and stage performances. They are great press stories which raise awareness of the brand and help to place the brand in the market through association with these public profiles and therefore become tools to push sales of related products.
Úna’s collaborations with others have pushed her, in both creativity and in business. She has proven that her brand and style of fashion can be diverse and appeal to different audiences.
I am very proud of all of the collaborative projects that I’ve done, especially ones where we cross creative boundaries, where I am out of my comfort zone, working in unfamiliar territory, surprising others, surprising myself with what’s possible to achieve.
Some such projects would be the glass and leather Wine Carafe produced with The Irish Handmade Glass Company, also, the menswear pieces that I made for a collaboration with unisex brand Unconditional, and a life-size leather puppet made and operated for a short film in collaboration with SHOWstudio and under the guidance of Lyndie Wright of The Little Angel Theatre in Islington. These were all technically challenging for me and therefore the outcome was even more satisfying.
Úna is the first to admit to her headstrong personality, which is certainly reflected through her style of design. She wants to give the wearer the opportunity to feel as strong as the pieces themselves, and as such the designs have the ability to change the way the wearer physically portrays themselves on the outside and as a result their mentality too.
I […] am very sensitive to what makes women feel good about themselves and proud of how they look and so in creating pieces that enhance the wearers posture and make them walk proud I feel that I can empower them and make them feel strength and courage. I’m very much influenced by psychology and art and these inform my concepts, materials and processes.
Still maintaining a hands on approach to her designs, Úna’s role within the company, however has developed and changed to reflect the strength of where her brand is now.
[…] I’m having to turn down projects due to lack of time and even still getting less sleep than required. I now no longer can work alone, I need a supportive team around me and luckily I have one. I am getting used to working with more and more prestigious companies such as a recent project with Lexus and the Guardian Newspaper. I still do all of the design work at the moment but may take on some extra design staff in the coming months. Everything is also still produced inhouse, I am very proud of this even though it is tough sometimes.
Úna’s brand is developing all the time and she is in constant demand to show her pieces at the various fashion weeks around the world. She is currently working on the Spring Summer look for 2016.