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Seven Creatives To Know In Edinburgh

A tight-knit community of designers, makers and artists take the latest styles from Mr P. for a spin in the Scottish capital

Many people visit Edinburgh as tourists, whether they’re looking to climb Arthur’s Seat (best done at midnight), take in the castle (which, it must be said, is a particularly good one) or hang around and catch comedians at the annual festival every August (recommended). Fewer, perhaps, stick around to learn about daily life in Scotland’s capital, which, of course, is a shame – there’s a great deal going on here beyond the Royal Mile.

We discovered this when we descended on the city to meet some of its creative community (most of whom already seem to know each other) and asked them to test drive some of the latest wares from our own label Mr P. Scroll down for their thoughts on style, Edinburgh’s cultural scene and the best places to get lobster in North Berwick, next time you’re in the neighbourhood.

Mr Gunnar Groves-Raines

Mr Gunnar Groves-Raines is the man behind Edinburgh’s Custom Lane – a collaborative centre for designers and makers in Leith, just outside the city centre. Mr Groves-Raines (an architect by trade who owns his own studio, GRAS) offers 40 studio spaces which creatives can take up and meet like-minded people.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do?

First and foremost, I’m an architect and I run my own architectural practice in Leith. There are two sides to the practice – one is very explorative and design-led and the other is dedicated to saving our built heritage. In the last couple of years, we established Custom Lane, a not-for-profit creative hub focusing on supporting designers. We’ve got architects, interior designers, concrete, jewellery and furniture designers here.

How would you describe your style?

I’ll struggle to define my style very well but being exposed to great garments helps. It makes you understand the difference between something that’s been carefully considered and something that hasn’t. I like brands with good materials and a good ethos behind them. I love great clothes but I wouldn’t say that anything I wear is particularly flashy. I like understated and safe pieces that focus on quality.

What’s interesting about Edinburgh’s creative scene?

Edinburgh by its nature is sometimes quite conservative and people can be wary of change. That’s why we started the Custom Lane project. We wanted to identify the people doing the best work and give them the support and to create opportunities for creatives across the city.

When you’re not at work where will we find you?

We live near the coast in East Lothian, so I’ll try and enjoy the beaches down there as much as possible go and get some lobster in North Berwick harbour. I surf a lot, so I tend to spend a lot of time at the coast anyway. I also hang out at Custom Lane (even when I’m not at work) and enjoy the coffee there on Saturday morning.

Messrs Bobby Niven and Iain MacLeod

Artist Mr Bobby Niven and architect Mr Iain MacLeod are not only old school friends but artistic collaborators: they’re the pair behind Artist Bothy, a cabin-like structure at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. Modelled on the bothies found all over the Highlands, the Artist Bothy has been created for artists that want to get out into the wild – taking a cosy, portable room with them.

Let’s talk bothies then...

Mr Niven: We actually designed the original here in the courtyard of the Old Sculpture Workshop in Edinburgh and then went on to create the Artist Bothy which is the second iteration – it’s actually for sale. The profits from the sale of this bothy go to the Bothy Project and the programming of the bespoke network of bothies in the Highlands. You can buy this bothy and literally take it anywhere on the back of a truck, so you can have it in your garden or use it as an artist’s studio – it’s a really versatile space.

So we take it you both like being outside for work?

Mr MacLeod: I do a lot of cycling to relax. I live on the outskirts of Edinburgh, so end up cycling a lot. I’ve also got a wee 15-month-old boy called Milo who keeps me busy. We live by the beach so we do spend a lot of time taking walks down there at the weekends.

Mr Niven: When I’m not at work, I’m often changing nappies at home!

How would you describe your style?

Mr Niven: My clothes are usually pretty functional, but I do like to buy stuff when I’m on the road. I had a commission on the Isle of Skye and I bought this jumper from a lady there. I like buying Scottish knitwear. When you go cycling in the Hebrides, sometimes you come across a little granny just knitting jumpers, so I like to try and buy those – they often last a really long time. But when you want a replacement, it’s always very difficult to find the same granny again!

Mr MacLeod: Subconsciously, I think we do dress for the cold in Scotland. I do have quite a heavy rotation of jackets. Edinburgh gets criticised for being a sea of outdoor jackets!

Mr Tom Cuddihy

“Made in the UK” might be a bit of a buzz-phrase in fashion right now, but it’s a phrase that Mr Tom Cuddihy of menswear label Kestin Hare can get behind. Based out of a studio space at Custom Lane, Tom is working on the brand’s AW19 collection. Naturally, he’s not a fan of the “tacky” tartans you might find in the gift shops on the Royal Mile – instead, he takes a minimal approach.

Does Edinburgh have an interesting fashion and design scene?

Creatively, Edinburgh is great. It’s small, so you tend to bump into the same people again and again and everyone knows each other. In the fashion world, we are quite unique because there aren’t really any other menswear designers in Edinburgh, so it’s fun to be here doing something new and to be doing something in Scotland for once.

When you’re not at work, where will we find you?

There are loads of cool spots in Edinburgh. There is a fun little bar called Nauticus, which has just opened down in Leith.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as simple – I like workwear pieces and champion “made in Britain” where possible. I love a product with a good story. I think it’s important to have a strong silhouette and timeless pieces, which is why I love these drawstring trousers.

Mr Myer Halliday

The unassuming village of Roslin, south of Edinburgh, might not be the first place you’d expect to find a Scandi-inspired ceramics studio, but it’s where Mr Myer Halliday calls home. Mr Halliday creates each of his pieces by hand from a special porcelain called parian, which is then painted in his signature patterns. He recently collaborated with Heal’s and is taking his work to Japan with Mr Groves-Raines’ architectural practice.

Are you working on any exciting commissions right now?

We’ve just produced a whole bunch of work for the Francfranc Corporation in Japan. They are opening a World Craft Centre in Kyoto and we are really excited to see how it is received. We are also honoured to have been invited to take part in next year’s Pittenweem Arts Festival. It is a small festival which takes place in the beautiful coastal town of Pittenweem every summer. We will be producing a range of sculptural works which will reference the North Sea trading connections between the east of the country and Scandinavia and Europe and the impact that has had on Scotland and the North.

How would you describe your style?

Minimal scruffy! I’m mostly covered in dust and clay, so I tend to wear a studio uniform of T-shirt, crew-neck sweater, jeans and my trusty Blundstones. So it was a joy to be able to dress up and try some new Mr P. things on. I really like the classic shapes and materials that I’m wearing – particularly the trousers and the grey crew neck. Simple and stylish – I’d love to be able to say “like me”.

When you’re not at work where will we find you?

I am really hopeless at switching off but I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world and I love to surf when the waves are right or to get out into the local countryside. Now that I live out of town, I realise how spoilt we were when we lived in Edinburgh. There are, however, lots of possibilities in the country – it’s just that you have to travel a bit further to get there. One of my favourites is the Steam Punk Cafe in North Berwick. The updated lobster shack in the harbour is cool, too. In town, I’m a huge fan of the work of the Gardener’s Cottage team. I’ve still to get to their new place on Calton Hill, but it’s on my list.

Mr Tristan Cameron Harper

Hill running? Hiking? Horse riding? While he might sound like a modern-day Action Man, there is more to Mr Cameron Harper than a jealousy-inducing Instagram feed and a rather impressive beard. The former professional ice hockey player is in training to be a fully-qualified mountain guide, and when he’s not scaling the next peak (he recently climbed from Lukla to Everest base camp) or taking an ice water dip in some natural springs in the Canadian countryside, you’ll find him at home, enjoying a glass of whisky with his Korean Jindo dog, Nacho.

We see from Instagram you’re quite the adventurer. Where’s next?

I’m planning a trip to Mongolia. I’m going to be in the Altai mountains and plan to be riding horses bareback and photographing some beautiful stars and mountains. I’ll be meeting the local communities, learning about their way of life and just taking in the whole experience.

So you must be an expert packer?

I always pack really light. When you’re on a holiday, you never know what you might find in the local market – before you know it, you can’t do your suitcase up. I usually have quite a uniform approach to packing and take a lot of the same stuff when I go on trips, then I pick up pieces I love as I go.

How would you describe your style?

I tend to like clothes that are minimalist and functional – and made from good materials. It really depends on the situation or the day – if I’m in a happy mood, I like to wear more colour and if I’m feeling a bit more low-key I stick to black and grey. My style is very casual and loose.

Mr Joseph Radford

Mr Joseph Radford is part of the family that owns and runs Timberyard, a world-class Edinburgh restaurant (in an old timber yard) that works with local producers, breeders and hunters to serve up “the best that Scotland has to offer”. A qualified sommelier, he is responsible for the restaurant’s wine list and is in the process of establishing a “Wild Wine Fair” with his business partner and wife to celebrate “natural” wine (made with minimal intervention). When he’s not talking wine, the former punk can be found exploring the local record stores in town (yes, they still exist and are good).

A punk dad, is that how you’d describe your style?

I was a punk kid so that kind of style has always appealed to me. Being a father now I think that look has been softened around the edges a touch. I guess another big thing growing up was 50s music and fashion with the rockabilly style being another love of mine. Slicked hair, animal print, brothel creepers and biker jackets. I still wear the first biker jacket I ever bought which was over 15 years ago.

Does it keep you warm in winter?

Being Scottish I have never coped very well with hot weather so autumn and winter are my favourite seasons. I’m a big fan of coats and jackets so it is always a treat to pull out the winter coat for the first time each year.

So, tell us about wine…

Timberyard was the first restaurant in Scotland to really start shouting about wine produced with respect for land and grape. We now have one of the most comprehensive ‘natural’ wine lists outside of London. It’s pretty amazing to be at the forefront of a movement within the Scottish hospitality scene and to see so many other businesses embrace minimal intervention wine.

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