Recently cited by The Sunday Times Style magazine as one of hot new talents in the Irish fashion industry, Mark T Burke is certainly one to watch. Georgina Heffernan caught up with the milliner to get the lowdown on his career.
Georgina Heffernan: Did you always want to be a milliner?
Mark T Burke: Actually, no, not always. I trained at college in Textile design. I worked in theatre and costume while I was at college which is where I got my first taste for millinery. In 2008 while still at college i went on a work placement with Philip Treacy in London - this is where I knew and decided millinery was for me!
What's the inspiration behind your creations?
I can get ideas from all sorts of things. sometimes it can be from the outfit I'm designing for, or indeed the lady herself. Others it can be from a fabric or feather, sometimes even a vase or bowl can give me ideas for a shape!
You trained with Philip Treacy as an intern - what did you learn from him?
It was a very short but very informative time. I learned all the basics while I was there. Philip and the whole team were incredibly helpful and generous with their time and information.
Who is your favourite milliner and why?
It has to be Philip Treacy. He's a genius. . . .and also from Galway!
Was it tough getting started in business?
I'm still starting and learning - I think I always will be!
What has been your greatest achievement in your career to date?
I always said if I could get up each day and spend the day working with my hands and doing what I love I'd be a very happy man - I'm pretty much doing that so I'm very happy!
Have you had to streamline your business as a result of the recession? How has it impacted you and your peers in the fashion industry?
I started in a recession so I know no different!
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
The experimentation, and working pieces out! I love how no two days are the same and no two clients are the same!
Where do you see the brand going in the future?
I hope to continue on the path I'm on. I love the physicality of actually making the pieces - I always want to be apart of that. Hopefully, I will continue to raise my profile and the dream is that someone will be able to pick up a piece and know by both design and quality that its a 'Mark T Burke' piece.
What's your motto?
I'm constantly learning that life is a roller-coaster but I believe "What's for you, won't pass you".