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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. “