“I am not one to be beaten by things I try to make. Sometimes the wildest ideas end up becoming reality just because I won’t let physics beat me…”
What is your company all about?
Devine Delinquents is a little independent jewellery company that was founded in May 2011 in Bristol. It’s quite a lonely little empire as it is run, created, designed, marketed and more by just me, Nikki. However I love what I do and all in all I wouldn’t change it for the world.
The kind of things I make range from very simplistic jewellery to completely over the top adorned chain emblazoned necklaces with feather wings, to the more couture style chokers, collars and shoulder cuff styles pieces. I find it very difficult to pigeonhole myself into one style of design as I feel a company needs to be accessible and changeable in style, but remain true to its core sensibilities.
The aesthetic of Devine Delinquents is that everything is handmade, sourced by myself and has some form of input from me, whether it be physically or from meeting with other artists about making something for the Devine Delinquents brand.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration is from absolutely everywhere, I know that’s what everybody says but for me it really is. I am a fan of quite a few subcultures, you could see this if you rummaged through my wardrobe. I am an eclectic soul. My roots lie with Gothic style and Rockabilly. A bit of an odd cross but both of those two subcultures are dear to me. But I love Steampunk, Psychobilly, punk, horror and, dare say it, I was a big indie kid when I was growing up. I also love high fashion and I find myself yearning for pieces of Westwood, especially her paw boots and shoes, but as of yet I have never caved and bought myself any.
I love just how shocking and diverse some of the high fashion and couture collections of relatively mainstream designers can be. I think it’s like stepping into a different world sometimes looking at their catwalks and thinking, “WOW! I want every single piece of that collection”. That’s what I try to aspire to with Devine Delinquents, collections and pieces that people can A: afford and B: really love without having to break the bank.
In terms of art and inspiration:
Goya, HG Wells, Francis Bacon (I was just going to write bacon but I thought people may get confused between the meaty treat and the artist!!), the Chapman Brothers, zombie films, vintage Sci-fi, Victorian mourning jewellery, taxidermy, nature, candles, tea, antiques through to bands such as Sonic Youth, Eighties Matchbox, and epic soundtracks from films such as The Road, 28 Days Later Inception. Tattooists and some good artist friends and just some people who make some wonderful things: Check out the work of David Corden, Miss Jo Black, The petting zoo prints and collectables and the wonderful Amiria Divine who is doing some great modelling work at the moment.
I try where possible to be surrounded by creative people, as there is nothing better than being able to see and create beauty in everyday life.
Are there any pieces you’ve made that stand out as personal favourites?
I love anything intricate, anything that takes sheer determination and a little bit of blood (sometimes literally when I slip and make a mistake!)
I am not one to be beaten by things I try to make. Sometimes the wildest ideas end up becoming reality just because I won’t let physics beat me. For example, pieces like the feather neck corset took a lot of hard work, making sure everything is stitched in the right places through the stems of feathers can be incredibly difficult and a bit of a mind boggler.
Sometimes I have to take a break from projects and come back with fresh eyes, so to speak, to have a different perspective of it. I adore making custom items, it’s great to get a bare bones idea from a customer and to run with it to create a unique piece that they know time, care and creativity has gone into.
I do all of my own stitching by hand, I don’t really get on with sewing machines. My mother taught me how to hand stitch and that’s how I have always sewn. So anything that I have sat and intricately stitched or embellished I have a strong sense of pride in and it always makes me incredibly happy to know that a customer is always getting my best work.
I see a lot of “hand sewn”, “hand stitched” things on the market that have been made by other designers, and I can just tell by looking at them that they won’t last five minutes. All of my hand sewn items are stitched, back stitched and then over stitched to make sure anything that’s sewn on, stays on. I never use glues on fabric unless there is no other alternative.
Quality is the reason my customers come back time and time again, and for me that is the most rewarding thing about what I do.
Tell us a bit about any new items/ranges you’re currently working on or have recently released?
I have been working away on an apothecary line for a range of fragranced body oils, as I know how difficult it can be to get a different but not as heavy style perfume nowadays. I have been squirrelling away working on that along with a dear friend and designer who is coming up with the label designs. I also have some plans for a larger range coming out later in the year for a more accessories based line. I however tend to release pieces as I go, as nowadays you end up with a lot of people jumping on your bandwagon when it comes to designs. That can be very disheartening but it’s also a challenge that I relish in.
How do you make sure that your ideas and designs stay fresh and appealing to your fan base?
I try where possible to interact with my “fan base “…that sounds strange, ermmmm….Customers. I love my customers to bits and I always keep my little team of Delinquents, as they are affectionately known, up to date on everything via Facebook. I also have a blog and a very neglected Tumblr account. I feed off of what my little Delinquents are “liking” and what they are buying, viewing and commenting on online, and that’s the Devine Delinquents items and other things that happen to pop up in my news feed.
I love Etsy too for how insightful it can be at predicating the next biggest trends. I buy fashion magazines, keep an eye on fashion blogs, read articles on up and coming designers and generally just try to have my finger on the pulse of all things new in the alternative fashion world.
I think it is important to keep reinventing, changing and growing as your customers do. It’s all very well sticking to a vague theme, but I think just producing the same things over and over again would make my company stagnant and I couldn’t work that way. My work has to be exciting, fun and inspired for me and my customers, otherwise I may as well just stop.
If you could create a custom item for anyone in the world, who would you pick and why?
This is the most difficult question so far. I have actually thought about this a lot and everyone I think of either sounds clichéd, predictable or a bit over done…
I guess in the vein of sounding a bit too pretentious, it would have to be for a designer, somebody that would really appreciate the hard work that I put in to an item. I have created items for “celebrities” before but as a good will gesture, a form of giving back a piece of inspiration to somebody who has inspired me. It is a very odd feeling doing that though, sending out a little gift into the ether to say thank you to a mythical creature. I guess it’s like an offering to a god. Right I’ve gone too weird haven’t I…..back to the point.
If I was commissioned to make something for anybody, I guess it would be Emma Hawkins. Remember that programme Four Rooms on channel 4? She was the really amazingly strong willed, beautiful, sassy taxidermy and oddities dealer. I guess as she has seen some really amazing things in her life, she would have some really good ideas for pieces. Failing that it would be Gaga as I think we have quite a similar character!
What does the future hold for you and your brand?
Soooooooooooo much. I am always working, always, always working. Everyday is a creative journey. You should see the ideas book, bags of threads, textiles and the apocalypse headquarters that is my desk! Selling wise, we have just started selling in a few tattoo studios up and down the country and I am trying to fit in a selling day at a market once a month. I also have plans to sell at a festival this summer (my first ever one!!)
I work a 9-5 full time day job as well, so sometimes juggling everything can be a bit hard. (As I type I am counting down the minutes to when I have to leave for work.)
Collaborations wise, I am working with models throughout the year (if you are reading this and you fancy modelling for Devine Delinquents just send me an email) on shoots with a couple of really big ones booked in.
Designer wise I am working with a very talented Bristol Designer on something woollen, but that’s about all I can say on that.
There will be a few bigger releases throughout the year of a few ranges, but more on that to come. The best way to keep in touch is to add me on Facebook (I have a page and a profile) or to follow me on wordpress or to email me with your email address and I can add you to the mailing list. It’s going to be a very busy exciting year so why not come and join me! It will be fun.
Facebook: Just type in Devine Delinquents in the search bar and you should find me.