The first time spotted a Kitsch Picks pieces on InstagrIam, I was instantly seduced. Rock ‘n roll pieces of jewellery made of guitar picks? Sign me up. The concept works, against all odds, without becoming repetitive and, invariably, pairing any piece with an outfit will result in compliments aplenty. I decided to catch up with Nicole Hobart, the brains behind this really cool outfit, to find out how her story and Kitsch Picks came to be.
How did you first become interested in making jewellery and how has your journey as a fashion artisan evolved since then?
It all started from a broken bracelet that I reconstructed using guitar picks in 2008. Friends then wanted similar, and the craze developed into selling a small selection of pieces at Camden Lock. The main profession took hold for a few years until we relocated to beautiful Malta. Then, in 2018, after seeing Uriah Heep at Floriana and catching one of Mick Box’s plectrum’s from the crowd, I felt the calling to get back into the creative saddle.
What made you pick guitar picks as a theme?
Oh, I am glad you asked. I’ve always been a huge music fan, and have collected guitar picks for many years. I wanted to do something creative with the concept of what they symbolise to me, so turning them into little extensions of my love for music and fashion seemed fitting. Kitsch Picks was born from my respect to music and the colour of sound that comes with it.
Can you describe what you sell?
Kitsch Picks is a jewellery brand that is designed to speak to everyone who loves music, fashion and is not afraid to express their individuality. Most pieces are completely unique, with a few signature styles that are made more often, and hand made from used, vintage and licensed guitar picks, as well as other various materials that a guitarist would have in their arsenal. You’ll find an eclectic mix of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and other accessories, that scream rock ‘n’ roll!
How long does it take you to create a piece?
This varies a lot. Some of the more extravagant designs can take hours, even days. The more simple pieces, anywhere from 40 minutes to a couple of hours. I am a perfectionist; if it’s not quite right, or I don’t like it myself, I will start again.
Where do you source your materials and how do you get inspiration?
Many of the materials I use are up-cycled from musician friends’ used guitar picks, guitar string and other bits and pieces used in their set-up. I also purchase vintage and officially licensed guitar picks from a vintage music store in America. Inspiration tends to hit at the most random times, as with most creatives. Music has a huge influence, of course. Then there are people I meet, conversations, events and fashion movements from the past.
What sets your business apart from other jewellery makers in the local market?
Music! Over the short time the brand’s been active, Kitsch Picks has worked with and supported various local musicians, which is something I feel to be quite unique in the jewellery space. And I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to combine my main passions into a creative art form that is appreciated here in Malta.
What are the most pressing issues facing the fashion industry in terms of sustainability, and how does your business model address these concerns?
I believe we are living in a time where humans are more aware of the damage we are doing to the environment. We need to reduce waste and prevent pollution. Supporting slow fashion is a powerful contribution to conserving natural energy and resources. Up-cycling from pre-loved and used materials allows us to deliver an ethical promise in the local market. This also makes each Kitsch Picks creation totally original.
Can you share some examples of successful collaborations or partnerships you’ve had with other like-minded businesses or organizations that focus on sustainability?
Being present in a couple of local vintage shops enabled Kitsch Picks to support slow fashion and illustrate that we ethically contribute to the planet. We have a great Instagram network and have been involved in a couple of charity giveaways in support of local eco-friendly initiatives.
Where can we purchase your collections?
I recently had the honour of getting some space in Taylormaid Vintage, a cool vintage fashion shop along Sliema Strand. There’s also a website and instagram page, where you can get sneak peeks of what’s to come. You’ll also see us pop up from time to time at local artisan markets and music events.