Dublin activist Sinead Burke has become the first ‘little person’ to attend the prestigious Met Gala in New York, which took place earlier this week.
A former teacher, she has now become renowned in the fashion and activism worlds in recent years for her devotion to encouraging inclusivity in fashion, and has previously given TED talks on the subject, as well as appearing at the World Economic Forum last year.
Sinead has also been recognised as a key influencer by Business of Fashion, appearing on the cover, and was earmarked as one of Vogue’s most influential women working in Britain in 2018.
She has also worked alongside several designers, including Burberry and Gucci, to highlight the need for inclusivity.
Sinead took to the pink carpet at The Met museum on Monday in custom-made Gucci for the annual gala, which is one of the highlights of the fashion season, and marked the first time that a ‘little person’ attended the Gala, where guests included the likes of Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Celine Dion and more.
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Last night was one of those moments that you dream of. Thank you so much, @alessandro_michele, Marco Bizzarri and all at @gucci for a night that I won’t ever forget. Attending the #MetGala as a little person (and the first one ever, at that), Anna Wintour, @voguemagazine and Gucci has such empathy and openness in thinking broadly about my accessibility needs. Prior to last night, I practised the stairs, and did an accessibility audit of the seating, bathrooms, elevators and corridors to figure out where and how we could ensure that I was as independent as possible on this very glamorous night. (Speaking of glamorous – my footstools have been decorated to seamlessly blend with the Met Gala furniture.) . . I wrote about my experience for @britishvogue. On my dress, “There have been very few moments in pop culture where a woman like me has had agency over her own aesthetic. We were careful that what I’m wearing was not a costume but a reflection of me as a person and a way in which I could communicate my advocacy to the world.” . . Thank you to @caitni and @tcs_daniel for everything. Thank so much to @vockandvintage for the breathtaking diamond earrings and diamond / sapphire ring. I’ve never felt more powerful. . . [Image description: Standing on the red carpet of the #MetGala – what a sentence – I have my hands on my hips, wearing the most extraordinary black velvet gown, with accented shoulders, blue silk bows across my chest and of course, a beautiful gold crown!]
A contributing editor to British Vogue, Sinead penned an essay ahead of her appearance at the prestigious event, discussing how “surreal, inspiring and humbling” it was to grace the carpet.
In the essay, Sinead wrote: “Tonight marks the first time that a little person has attended the Met Gala. It is surreal, inspiring and humbling to be gracing the infamous red carpet.
“I am so grateful to Gucci, Vogue and Anna Wintour for their empathy and openness in thinking broadly about my accessibility needs.
“Prior to [the Gala], I practised [ascending] the stairs, and did an accessibility audit of the seating, bathrooms, elevators and corridors to figure out where and how we could ensure that I am as independent as possible on this very glamorous night.
“Speaking of glamorous – my footstools [were] decorated to seamlessly blend with the Met Gala furniture.”