Nceka cloth from our South Africa inspiration trip.
On our trip to the Limpopo Region, our designers were struck by the beautiful beading and embroidery on Nceka cloths. The Nceka cloth is a traditional cloth worn over the upper body by Tsonga and Shangaan women. Oftentimes it is an indigo dyed fabric embellished with beads and safety pins by the wearer herself. Intricately embroidered Nceka cloths are saved for special occasions like weddings.
We loved the colorful and unique detail of Nceka cloths so much that we created the Mtititi Floral Tunic. You can bring home a piece of South Africa too from our girls’ tops! The over-dyed floral indigo fabric is embellished to look like the beads from traditional Nceka cloths.
Our Mtititi Floral Tunic inspired by the Nceka cloth.
Watch the Mtititi Magic video to see beading in action and learn about how Mtititi has changed the lives of women in the Limpopo Region. Video courtesy of WatchKubasa via Youtube.
Did you ever receive a bow tied perfectly that you never wanted to untie it? Fret not. We have a simple instructional video on how to tie an asymmetrical bow on a dress. We had Isabelle demonstrate on Lily’s Emmy Dress.
One of the many inspiring artists we discovered in Scandinavia was Swedish ceramicist, Lisa Larson. We loved how Larson, played with flower and leaf shapes to create creatures (pictured above). We wanted to use the same idea of creating a Scandinavian creature out of plant elements. I collected a variety of internet images and actual plant pieces that I scanned into the computer. Then came the fun part, arranging the elements to create an animal. The pieces I had worked nicely to make an owl. I then traced the owl I created with sharpies to make our Blomma Owl Girl’s Graphic Tee.
We thought it’d be a fun idea to collect leaves and flowers with your children and see what kind of creatures you can create. I found these amazing leaf creations (below) by kokokoKids over on My Barn Owl.
The following is written by Emily Meyer, Tea Collection’s Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer.
How awesome is Modern Family the TV show?! It’s so funny and I just love the weave of contemporary themes and some of the most socially relevant story telling. It turns out that the actress that plays Lily, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, is a huge Tea fan!
I met Aubrey’s mother, Amy Anderson Emmons, at the Mom 2.0 bloggers conference in May … she was super friendly and spoke about managing the social media audience for Aubrey’s fan base. I introduced myself and she said they knew Tea, that Aubrey even had a couple of pieces … I mentioned that we would LOVE to dress Aubrey for any special occasions.
Well … I was travelling overseas just a few weeks ago and received an email from Amy – she says Aubrey is going to the Emmy’s and asked if we would be interested in dressing her? Of course!! What an awesome project and it would be an honor for us!
Marjorie, our designer, was traveling with me – we immediately started brainstorming in the courtyard of our hotel at 12:30am!! Marjorie sketched. We started with our iconic wrap neckline styling and created a bubble in the skirt for fun, matching Aubrey’s playful personality. Then we added a sash similar to one we had seen on the traditional Korean costume, called a hanbok.
Our amazing Technical Design team drafted the pattern and made a prototype before we returned home from the trip. We found beautiful silk taffeta fabric at Britex in downtown San Francisco. And then I went to LA to visit Aubrey in person to try on the dress. The sash captivated Aubrey and the wrap neckline was gorgeous on her – elegant and youthful.
Ana, Tea's photographer, with Aubrey as she tries on her Emmy's dress for the first time.
Marjorie traveled to LA herself to help Aubrey get dressed, including final touches, for the big event.
Marjorie helping Aubrey pick out the perfect shoe.
I am so proud of our team for making this happen so fast and so beautifully. It’s literally the art of couture, globally-inspired, made with heart and soul.
Once you’re done, submit your creation to email@example.com for your chance to win a $100 Tea gift certificate! Every month, Tea staff will pick one artistic little citizen to win! Honorable mentions will also be uploaded into their own featured blog post. Let your creative juices flow and show us your inner artist!
We’re introducing guest blogger Pam Geller, a freelance marketing consultant, who traveled to Nairobi, Kenya with her three kids, Kayla | 7 yrs, Drew | 6 yrs, and Jenna | 3 yrs, who just happened to be wearing Tea on their trip.
It was incredible to visit a Maasai “village” located in Nairobi, Kenya. A “Kraal”(“Kraal” — krôl, kräl) is a rural village, where a Maasai family lives, their huts in a circular area, to protect their livestock at night. Our Safari guide, Daniel, took us to see his family’s Kraal. Daniel’s family consists of one dad, seven moms, and 70 brothers and sisters. WOW! Yes- 70 brothers and sisters. Only Daniel and Daniel’s brothers with their respective wives and children live in the village we visited. After the brothers showed us their lion dance and how high they can jump, we were invited to go inside their village and see how they live.
Water…no aquifer; they get their water from nearby lakes and streams.
Food…no grocerystores; they crop their own food by hand, in dessert conditions…(mind you…)
Eating utensils…no forks; they gather around a large bowl of food set on the ground and scoop up the food with their fingers or with pieces of bread.
Fire…no matches; they make fire the old fashion way with sticks and elephant poo!
Homes…no brick and mortar; they build their home with mud, sticks, cow dung and cow urine!
Wealth…no money; they measure wealth in terms of cattle and children.
Medicine…no hospitals; they use the urine of animals. It is thought that the urine of animals is holy and that if used in the right way it can cure sickness.
To see how they live in comparison to us, well, was inspiring and humbling. Amazingly our oldest daughter, Kayla, who is 7, got it. Here is a passage from her journal that she kept on our trip, “People are poor in Africa. Okay, when we were driving in the Maasai Mara, we stopped at a village, we saw how the Maasai people live, and their house is made of cow poop and sticks. The girls have to make their houses and it takes three months and they don’t have shoes they are barefoot. “
Today we’re featuring guest bloggers Kristen Daniel, a teacher at San Francisco Friends School, and her two girls Lilly (10) & Clem (8), stylistas in-training and adventure enthusiasts, who just returned home from their trip to Rome. They explored the city and are excited to present all of its wonders through the lens of a little citizen. While on their trip, the girls modeled items from our Spring Bali girls clothes collection.
Looking for a walkable city rich with archeological and architectural sites and, most importantly, delicious food, we settled on a trip to Rome during our daughters’ spring break. We rented an apartment in the cobblestoned Roman neighborhood of Trastevere and spent many hours wandering its medieval maze of backstreets. Arriving in Rome on a dazzlingly bright Easter Sunday morning instantly transported us from the San Francisco fog. Lily, 10, and Clementine, 8, soaked up the spring sun and slurped up the amatriciana.
Winding through the narrow streets away from the crush of vendors selling mini-Colosseums, a doll repair shop’s window display caught Lily’s eye.
“This caught my eye because it was only doll heads. No bodies and definitely no full dolls!” -Lily
Emails and texts are ok when stateside, but nothing beats getting a postcard in the mail stamped with official Italian francobollos.
“I got stamps from a little corner store and asked for them myself. ” – Clem
“I’m mailing a letter to a friend! The mailboxes are pretty high to reach.” – Clem
Contemporary Roman graffiti decorated the backstreets of Trastevere, reminding us of the San Francisco Mission District close to home.
“I really liked this graffiti because I couldn’t really figure out what the expression of the women was. At the bottom of the picture you can see cobblestones, and we had to walk on them all day!” – Lily
Waving to kids on their way home from school translates easily.
Long lines can bring out the sillies. Clem accessorized her dress with a belt and sunglasses and worked out some energy in the courtyard at the Vatican museums.
“It was SUPER hot dancing and prancing around!” – Clem
An attempt to step off the cobblestones for a bit needed a helping hand.
“On the little path of stone, there were lots of big gaps so I almost fell over while taking the picture.” – Clem
Part of the fun was learning to dexterously manipulate the public drinking fountains like a real Roman. Delicious, fresh, and free water was available in almost every piazza. It took some practice before we could have a sip and keep our shoes dry.
“This was the most hard thing and the most fun thing in Rome. I probably soaked my feet 5 million times!” – Lily
Nothing beats a gelato after hours of pounding the cobblestones. Best gelato in Rome? The gelateria closest to your apartment or hotel. Stracciatella and nocciola got the best reviews from our discerning tasters more accustomed to Mitchell’s mango or grasshopper pie.
“It’s always a little chilly in the afternoon and gelato made it colder, but at least it tasted good!” – Clem
Yes, we actually take the time to carve out linoleum blocks to achieve the perfect look. Pictured above are photos of our talented textile designer Amber and her work as she developed the graphic for our Sanur Floral Sporty dress. Pretty cool, huh?
Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. Explore all of our Behind the Design posts.
The art of Batik is practiced throughout the world, but Bali is the place most known for the artful practice. Batik is a wax-resistant dying technique used on textiles to produce beautiful designs. While in Bali, our designers had a chance to practice their hand at Batiking.
We knew we had to incorporate the breath-taking batiks into our Balinese-inspired collection. The colors and designs naturally lent themselves to our girls dress collection. Our staff favorite is our Lotus Batik Designs for girls.
However, we have plenty of Batik inspired designs for boys and girls in our spring and summer collections: http://bit.ly/GWvGiM
Will you be wearing Bali-inspired Batiks this spring?