The Nina Diary – Fabric Hunting In India

Welcome to the first post of the Nina Diary. Each week, Nina from Toujours Toi will tell you how it is to be an Independent designer and we will follow her through the makings of her new collection. To celebrate the launch of the Nina Diary, the Mushroom & Berry ring is 50% off on

Hi everyone! 
I share my time between New York, Zurich and sometimes India. I own a lot of suitcases, I love red lipstick and treasure hunting. 
I just got back from a fabric sourcing trip to India. Whenever I am on one of my India trips (about twice a year) I get so much new inspiration, I call it fashion detox as there isn’t anything trendy in Delhi. It’s just me, colors, fabrics and good snacks. I am far away from everything and the time difference helps as well. I love spending time alone in India, totally engulfed in developing a new collection. Finding the right fabrics is like working on a big puzzle and when the puzzle fits. it’s such a great feeling! 
I work really intensely on the fabrics for two weeks, basically just spending time at the fabric market, or in my hotel room looking at swatches, switching things around, getting a feel for the collection, eating, watching Sex and The City on tv and sleeping. The hotel I am staying at serves amazing crepes for breakfast so that is always a highlight of my day.
Leading up to fabric sourcing we might already have some prototypes for the next collection (fw12) and some of it is just drawings. I collect a lot of color inspirations prior to the trip, but when I am in India at the fabric markets it’s just me and my gut – it’s something that is really instinctive, it’s a feeling. What I learned is to let the crazy happen, to not reign it in from the beginning, so sometimes I get back to the hotel and spread out the fabrics and just say “you are insane!” and I mean that in a good way. First you have to go a bit wild to get a feel for the color scheme and then you have to find a way to make sense of it. It takes a lot of concentration and focus and I love that. 
For me it’s really the fabrics that make a collection come to life. I suddenly see the story of a collection, I get really excited when it’s coming together. Our AW12 collection will be the most fun Winter collection we ever did and I wish I was already done so I could show it to you!

Agh! Choices, choices!
Here we are at a fabric store trying to figure out the fabrics that are part of the patch worked fabric we are using for our “Les Vacances” SS12 collection, all these fabrics will be cut up and sewn together as a patchwork to form one of our fabrics. Stuff like this is so much fun! And also so much work!
I bought this drawing at an antique shop. I fell in love with it.
This guy is really funny, he calls me his favorite and best customer 😉 and he is a very good business man! 

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