Boots & Pine

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Nina Egli in Williamsburg

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Where did you grow up?

In an old, former farm house next to the forest in a town outside of Zurich, climbing trees and rooftops and getting my shoes dirty.

What brought you to New York?

I moved here to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute and then started making jewelry.

What do you do for a living?

I am the designer/owner of Family Affairs and Toujours Toi. I also do commissioned illustrations.

How did you get started?

I think it all started when I was a kid making necklaces from seeds I found in the garden and my mum having a closet room solely devoted to her archive of clothing she designed and collected. Fashion was always part of our home and a fun way of self expression. My mum never restricted us in expressing ourself with clothing (as long as there were no stains!) So I started creating my own style of clothing very early. As a kid I was inspired by Amish clothing and wanted to stay old fashioned and always wear long skirts and have braids down to my hips. As a teenager I was punk etc., so I think all these different phases stayed with me and are now part of Family Affairs.

In terms of actually starting a business, a lot of trial and error and just going for it. I started working on Family Affairs with my mum in 2008 after doing jewelry with Toujours Toi since 2003.

What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?

The favorite thing about my work neighborhood are the taro brioches at Mountain Province! I also like when old men sit outside in beach chairs in the summer.

What’s the last treasure you found?

A forest green silk robe for $5 at the Opportunity shop in Greenport. It is very dramatic. I wore it to dinner that night.

If you were going to eat your last meal in New York, where and what would you eat?

Oysters at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central with my love.

If you could have a sleepover with anyone who has ever existed, who would it be?

To fulfill my childhood dream: Pippi Longstocking.

If your life was a TV show, what would be the theme song?

“I am so excited” the Le Tigre version

What does New York need that it doesn’t have now?

More benches where we can sit in the sun and have a sandwich and watch people. Also more elevators or escalators in subways! I am always lugging around heavy suitcases.

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© 2012 Arden Wray