Our design team loved visiting Kruger National Park so much that they just couldn’t help but design a collection of boys tees inspired by Kruger. Kruger is Africa’s largest game reserve and it spans over 7,500 square miles. That’s six times the size of Rhode Island! Kruger was created in 1926 to protect the diminishing number of safari animals. If you ask anyone in Africa what the ‘Big 5′ is, they will tell you that the ‘Big 5′ are the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot- the lion, leopard, African elephant, Cape Buffalo, and the rhinoceros.
Did you know:
-despite the African Elephants large size, they can hide in the tall grass
-the leopard is a nocturnal animal, which means it does the majority of its hunting from sunset to sunrise
Vilakazi Street- where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu lived.
Here’s a history lesson that not only is short and sweet but fun to say. We bet you didn’t know that our Vilakazi Henley was named after the only street to once have housed two Nobel Prize winners. Nelson Mandela, one of the most famous anti-apartheid activists and President of South Africa, lived at 8115 Vilakazi. Mandela’s former home is now the Mandela House- a museum that preserves his story as he fought for equality. Just down the street, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu still lives with his wife. Desmond as he is fondly known aided to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa. During his quest to bring the fall of apartheid, he coined the term ‘Rainbow Nation,’ when speaking about his beloved South Africa and its ethnic diversity. It is said that Desmond can still be seen strolling down Vilakazi.
Our designers were so inspired by their trip to Vilakazi Street that they wanted to share it with you. Bring a piece of our experience home with you, shop from our boys’ tees.
Our cozy boys’ hoodie was named after Chester Williams who was famously dubbed ‘The Black Pearl.’ During the 1995 Rugby World Cup games, Chester was the only black player on the Springbok Team from South Africa. He became the poster boy (literally) of the end of apartheid in South Africa; his face was plastered on the sides of planes and on billboards. Many South African children idolized him which eventually helped bring an end to the racial injustice in South Africa. If you are curious about Chester and the rest of the Springboks, watch Invictus.
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.
Horses have played a major role in the development of all cultures, maybe because they proved reliable creatures and friends. For the past three holiday seasons, we have featured horses on our girls’ tees. Take a trip down memory lane with us.
What can you see on every street in Copenhagen? A bike! That’s right everywhere our designers looked – right, left, up, down- they spotted bikes. That’s why our Nordic collection was dotted with bikes on girls tees and boys hoodies. Cycling is an integral part of Danish life and even has its own blog capturing cycle style, Cycle Chic. For many, it may be their only mode of transportation. Did you know more people bike to work in the greater Copenhagen area than in the entire United States? Urban planners in Copenhagen wanted to make cycling easy not an uphill battle for their residents. Many factors contribute to Copenhagen’s biking success, one being that they have a relatively flat terrain and specialized cycle tracks that criss-cross the city. Slowly but surely, progressive American cities are becoming more bike friendly like San Francisco where bikes lanes are being widened and free bike valet is offered at major events.
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.
Ever wonder why our Finnish fire engine tee says sisu? We didn’t make up that word. During our inspiration trip, our designers noticed the word sisu on many service trucks. It turns out that sisu is the name of a Finnish truck company started in 1931, and it has been producing fire engines and armored vehicles ever since. In Finnish culture, sisu means having resilience, perseverance, and determination- all qualities that I would want in a fire fighter. Some Fins might describe it as “having guts.” Parents have grown so fond of sisu that they have started naming their sons this. Like all cultural phenomenons, it will slowly spread to the rest of the world just like the word sauna has. I bet you didn’t know that was originally a Finnish word.
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!