Monthly Archives: July 2011

July 18, 2011

Random Acts of Inspiration: Cardboard Boxes

Every Monday at Studio T we showcase fashion and art projects we find inspiring. Have a look at our previous Random Acts of Inspiration here.

Growing up is hard. With all of the freedoms that we earn – staying out late, eating what we want, making decisions about our own lives and futures, life’s realities often replace playful imagination. What is it about kids and their imaginary worlds that is so innate? And why do we let go of it when we become adults? Let’s take their imagination as inspiration to reignite our own.

 

 

video by studiocanoe

July 15, 2011

Inside Studio Tea

Studio T is starting something new! Beginning today we’ll share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea.This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our birthday parties, or photos of us hard at work. What would you like to encounter behind the scenes at Tea?

A section of the “Modern Mexico Inspiration Wall” over our Art Director’s desk, used as an influential guide for shooting our upcoming Modern Mexico catalog.

July 14, 2011

Signs of Mexico

Whenever our designers travel they take hundreds of photos – of flowers, gardens, buildings, people, fashion, textiles, markets, and signs. All of these images are brought back to our offices in San Francisco and used to draw inspiration from when designing our latest line of clothing.

Photographing signs  seems to be a common practice of the traveler. Living a few blocks from the Haight-Ashbury intersection in San Francisco, I see this touristy obsession with signs all the time. And yet…there is something quite beautiful about signs. Much like the coffee bags in yesterday’s post, our designers love signs as resources for gathering different typefaces and graphics to use on our tees.

Do you have any favorite signs that you see every day, or that you’ve captured photos of on your travels?

July 13, 2011

Chiapas Coffee Bags

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.

Have you ever tasted coffee from Chiapas, Mexico? Chiapas is located in the southern mountain range of Mexico, near the Pacific Ocean. Coffee beans from this region are sought after for their delicate aroma and sweet, medium-bodied taste. Mexican farmers have been growing coffee beans for generations with limited technology, and due to the mountainous environment most coffee fields are small – between 2 and 4 acres large.

When visiting this region of Mexico our designers were bombarded with different brands of Chiapas coffee, each owned by a separate family company. Each bag had its own typeface and personality, some referencing vintage coffee bag aesthetics, while others were more bright and modern. Inspired by the graphics, our designers created our Jaguares de Chiapas Tee. Constructed out of our favorite slub cotton, this shirt references a rich agricultural history, and is perfect for playing sports and exploring!

Jaguares de Chiapas” is a professional soccer club from the Chiapas region. And why number 19? Chiapas is Mexico’s 19th state.

July 11, 2011

Random Acts of Inspiration: The Boy’s Brain

Every Monday at Studio T we showcase fashion and art projects we find inspiring. Have a look at our previous Random Acts of Inspiration here.

boys brain dinosaur lions robots bears

I love this illustration by Grady McFerrin. Since I design most of Tea’s boy’s graphic tees this is also what my brain looks like most days – dinosaurs, robots and bears!  Check out McFerrin’s website, full of tons of great stuff. He also does a lot of fun stationary for our fellow San Francisco company Chronicle Books.

July 7, 2011

Frida and Diego

In our Fall Mexico-inspired collection there are many pieces inspired by the artwork of both Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera.

Frida approached Diego initially in search of an artistic mentor. They fell in love and were married in 1929. Their marriage was fraught with difficulties, but their art flourished. Our designers visited their famous “blue house” in Mexico City, which had separate living quarters and art studios connected by a lush courtyard garden.

Diego Rivera’s paintings commonly reflected the working class citizens of Mexico. A known communist, he sympathized with union workers and was commissioned to create numerous large-scale murals during his lifetime. Intricate stories often play out in his larger murals, depicting famous political and artist characters of the time.

Diego Rivera's "En el Arsenal" detail (left), and "The Flower Carrier (right)

Frida’s work consisted largely of self-portraits. Suffering from chronic and extreme back pain following a trolley car accident when she was young, her paintings fluctuate between states of calm beauty and a harsher dark aesthetic. Frida’s artwork is hailed as emblematic of the surrealist movement, and she is one of the most well-known women artists in history.

Frida Kahlo's "Self Portait on the Border Between Mexico and the United States" (top), "Self Portrait with Monkey and Cat" (right), "Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress" (left)

Both artists were significant influences on our Fall 2011 collection. Stay tuned for more stories about Frida and Diego and how their work and aesthetic styles inspired our design team!

July 6, 2011

Marvelous Marimbas

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.

Have you heard of the marimba instrument? First developed in southern Mexico and northern Guatemala, marimbas were influenced by an instrument similar to the xylophone called the balafon, which originated in West Africa.

Similar to a xylophone, marimbas have keys that the player hits with mallets. Traditional marimbas have gourds attached underneath as resonators (see above), but more modern versions have carved wooden resonators to better control the pitch. The instrument has a fun beat, and is either played solo or with other instruments. Our designers loved the playful music the marimbas makes, and designed our Marimba Mini Dress with dancing in mind!

Our Marimba Mini Dress comes in two colors – a light surf turquoise or a dark indigo blue. The flower design down the front was inspired by some of the intricate artistic carvings done along the sides of marimbas.

So what does a marimba sound like? Any ABBA fans out there may recognize marimbas at the beginning of their song Mamma Mia – one of its more famous pop appearances. Traditional marimba musical styles vary on the region and player, but below is a great example of the range of the marimba, and some history about its origins in Mexico and Guatemala: