A GALASHIELS student has transformed a former London police station after winning a UK-wide competition.

Ema Ester, 20, originally from Croatia, studies at Heriot-Watt University’s school of textiles and design on Nether Road.

She entered an annual Christmas fundraising competition, set up by homelessness charity Crisis, to turn the ex-police hub on Savile Row into a pop-up shop.

The second-year fashion branding and promotion student wowed judges with her graffiti art concept that celebrates British cities and youth culture to win the contest.

Ema said: “It was an amazing feeling. Crisis were really pleased with what I had produced and they have been amazing at keeping me involved. We’ve had video calls and emails and they’re they’ve just been great with me and very supportive.

“I’ve been working on this competition for around two months and it’s been a lot of fun to apply what I’ve learnt in the classroom and incorporating this into the real world.

“My lecturers have been extremely supportive. They’ve helped throughout the whole process and have always been available to answer questions. It’s been a great experience.”

Now in its fourth year, the competition challenges students from across the UK to unleash their creativity and convert the once-vacant premises into an eye-catching retailing space for the annual pop-up.

The shop – which opened to the public on Monday (December 4) – contains clothes, gifts and accessories donated by designer brands in a bid to raise vital funds to help end homelessness.

Launched in August, this year’s competition was open to second and final year students across the UK who are studying a related course in marketing, communications, branding, business or promotion.

Entrants were tasked with creating the branding, marketing and promotional ideas for Crisis Pop-Up whilst incorporating charity’s 2023 Christmas strap line ‘Life Beyond Homelessness’.

Ema’s submission was described as exceptional by the judges.

Ahead of the shop opening, Ema added: “Crisis has put me in touch with the graffiti artist who is going to bring this to life and we’re working out plans for me to go down to London for the big unveil.

“I can’t wait to see it.”

Crisis aims to raise more than £125,000 in sales from the pop-up shop.

The charity will display Ema’s creation until December 14.

Georgina Evans, head of retail at Crisis, said: “We were blown away by all the submissions for this year’s competition but Ema’s was definitely the standout concept. It captures the nature of Crisis’ pop-up brilliantly and will provide the perfect backdrop for shoppers looking to support people experiencing homelessness this Christmas.

“It has been fantastic working closely with Ema to bring her designs to life and to make sure they work well in the space. We’re really looking forward to seeing the pop-up launch next week and welcoming people in to raise vital funds for Crisis, while they view Ema’s designs in place.”

Crisis’ Christmas pop-up shop has raised more than £300,000 over three years, helping thousands of people experiencing homelessness.