Local Heroes: A Very Contemporary Christmas

The concept for A Very Contemporary Christmas is very simple. Best friends Jenny Hazel and Stacey Hunter drew up a wish list of what they’d like for Christmas and turned it into a shop

Feature by Local Heroes | 04 Dec 2018

A Very Contemporary Christmas is a pop-up Christmas shop located in the ‘front room’ of a listed Georgian townhouse on Edinburgh’s Hill Street. Jenny Hazel and Stacey Hunter, the founders of Hill Street Design House and Local Heroes respectively, have brought together work by their favourite designers featuring ceramics, jewellery, knitwear, prints, and fashion and lifestyle accessories.

“We both like to shop small and buy locally to support local businesses and we know that so many other people also want to avoid buying from huge corporations,” says Hazel. “We think people will enjoy this specially curated collection and we’ve made sure there are gifts for men, women and children from £5 to over £250, as well as some fun in-store events.” The duo are also offering custom gift wrapping to raise funds for local food bank the Edinburgh Food Project.

Jimena Bolaños Durman

The selection is eclectic and reflects both Hazel and Hunter’s taste in contemporary design. “We agreed to choose five designers each," says Hunter, "and now we have over 30, so that gives you an idea of how much this pop-up is actually our own fantasy Christmas present list! Scotland is so great at knitwear, we really wanted to stock things you can buy for your partner, your parents or your children from stellar designers like Glasgow’s Jennifer Kent, Green Thomas and Mini McGhee and Orkney’s Hilary Grant Knitwear.” Ceramics is fast becoming the popular choice for gift-giving and the pop-up has Natalie J Wood’s slip cast parian clay vessels filled with Lucky Cloud’s blended soy wax candles in heady scents like geranium and spearmint.

There are some new names among the familiar Local Heroes faces, including a special guest from Costa Rica – jeweller Jimena Bolaños Durman. “As well as Jimena’s amazing jewellery, we have completely new works from Emma McDowall who has made beautiful large-scale concrete planters and some specially designed ‘modern celestial’ vases and cups from Glasgow’s Morven Mulgrew," says Hunter. "We also have exciting prints from Saskia Pomeroy and a Scottish and Italian themed food calendar by Giulia Fiorista.”


Products by Hill Street Design House residents are at the top of Hazel’s list. “MAiK London is an ethical homeware and accessories brand that recently relocated back to Scotland. Their high quality socks are made at a family-run factory, produced using eco-friendly dyes and packaged with no plastic. Leigh Elizabeth is a recent graduate (class of 2018!) of textiles and surface design from Heriot Watt University. The clutches we have chosen are hand-painted and embellished, and encased in PVC to protect the textile. I love everything from Rene Walrus and Mischke Lingerie, but having them creating luxury headpieces together is an absolute Christmas wish come true! These pieces remind me of a modern take on the headbands from Swan Lake, but with added madness, glitter and styling. I am very excited to try them all on. Don't be surprised if I make one the uniform for the shop. Finally, Lauren Smith’s super cute embroidered pins are inspired by Christmas jumpers, and 70s colour combinations and patterns. Each pin is unique and meticulously stitched by hand, right here in Edinburgh."

The pair plan to shoot their own live Instagram stories in order to incorporate everyone’s work with a knowing wink at shopping channel-style delivery: “It was our friend and PR genius Owen O'Leary who suggested that we do live sales where people can phone up to buy products and then pop round after work to pick them up.” With jewellery by Freya Alder, Cecilia Stamp, Lynne MacLachlan, Tom Pigeon and Heather Woof and accessories by Niki Fulton, Paulin Watches, Laura Spring and SÒLAS, the scene is set for sparkling demonstrations of headwear, rings and neck scarves.

Paulin Watches

“It’s nice to be together again at Hill Street, which is where Local Heroes started,” says Hunter. “Come and see us and take away a gift for someone special that they’ll appreciate or just tune into our Instagram channel on your lunch break and see us introduce some brilliant design objects and designers.”

A Very Contemporary Christmas, Hill Street Design House, 1-8 Dec