Category Archives: Behind the Design

February 27, 2014

Shades of Jardin Bleu

Jardin Bleu

Shades of blue are found all throughout Morocco. We found this bold, cobalt color in tiles, walls, doorways – even orange stands! We’ve come to call this particular shade Majorelle Blue, and we think it’s perfect for spring. With so many styles, it’s easy to mix and match all sorts of prints and patterns for fresh outfits all season long!

Majorelle BluesShop these styles:

Majorelle Flutter Dress // Majorelle Stripe Tee // Swiss Dot Flutter Sleeve Top // Dot Print Layering Tee // Soludos Original Canvas Dali // Blue Chameleon Raglan Tee // Dot Print Capri Leggings // Patagonia Trucker Hat // Majorelle Garden Twirl Skort // Delta Runner Graphic Tee //  End-on-End Stripe Hoodie

January 20, 2014

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons in Custom Tea at Golden Globes and SAG Awards

Awards season is in full swing and we couldn’t be more excited to see Tea on the red carpet! Aubrey Anderson-Emmons attended both the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards shows in one-of-a-kind custom Tea Collection dresses. Congratulations to the entire cast of Modern Family for their SAG win, ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series’, the award was much deserved. Aubrey is the youngest SAG winner and she’s now won three years in a row!

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons Golden Globes

Months ago, we sent Aubrey sketches of several different design options for the award shows. She chose her two favorites, a modern drop-waist dress in pink duchesse satin with Swarovski crystal accents and a modern shift dress in a two-tone iridescent satin in orchid with two tiers of cascading ruffles draped across the bodice. We got to work!

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons SAG Awards 2014

We were thrilled to hear the announcement of Pantone’s color of the year; Radiant Orchid. With purple as one of her favorite colors, she was ahead of the trend! Aubrey held her own on the red carpet amongst award show veterans. Congratulations again on the win, Aubrey – What an exciting two weeks!

Pantone Color of the Year - Orchid

 

August 19, 2013

China’s Most Recognized Design Tradition

One of the most iconic Chinese designs is China’s world famous Blue and White Porcelain (known in Chinese as 清花 qinghua), which is why it seems so natural that it was one of the design inspirations for Tea Collection’s Fall/Winter 2013 Destination China collection.

Traded all over the world at the height of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Blue and White Porcelain came to be known outside of China as “Ming Ware” or quite simply “china” as an ode to the land of its origin.

The most prized Blue and White Porcelain didn’t come from just anywhere in China, though. It all came from one place known as the mecca of all porcelain craftsman and artisans for over 1000 years: Jingdezhen, Jiangxi.

Porcelain from Jingdezhen has come to represent the pinnacle of Chinese craftsmanship, as China’s most skilled porcelain and pottery masters have perfected their craft in the city for centuries. Aspiring porcelain artists continue to flock to Jingdezhen to join the artisan community and study at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, China’s premier center of ceramic higher learning.

Photo credit: Frank B. Lenz

History of Jingdezhen

Since 557 CE, Jingdezhen has been the center of fine porcelain art, crafting, innovation, and production in China. The city is home to the Imperial Kilns that fired the porcelain used and treasured in Beijing’s Forbidden Palace.

In fact, Jingdezhen’s name is connected to its imperial ties. The Song Dynasty Emperor Jing De (who reigned from 1004-1007) so admired the porcelain created in Jingdezhen that he issued an imperial edict to honor the manufacture of porcelain. The town became known as “Jing De Town” (zhen 镇 in Chinese means town) in his honor.

In 1267, the legendary Kublai Khan established a Ceramic Bureau with 80 imperial craftsman.  During the Ming Dynasty, official kilns designated for imperial porcelain production were established along with the Imperial Porcelain Bureau in Jingdezhen.

In addition to regular sacrificial offerings to the Chinese diety protecting ceramic production, in the Ming Dynasty the emperor started dispatching a royal eunuch to oversee ceramic production in Jingdezhen on behalf of him.

Chinese Emperors took their Jingdezhen porcelain seriously!

When your young ones wear the Lucky Fish Tee, Porcelain Floral Smocked Top, Painted Pottery Graphic Dress, or Porcelain Floral Henley Dress, you can transport your whole family to the historical ancient porcelain crafting capital of Jingdezhen.

Photo credit: Frank B. Lenz

Visiting Jingdezhen Today

Jingdezhen still continues to carry on the legacy of fine Chinese porcelain craftsmanship today.  The pride this small town in southern China takes in porcelain crafting can be seen in the visitor friendly restorations of the Ancient Kilns and in the small details, like the porcelain stop lights downtown or the porcelain trash cans at historical sites (really!).

Photo credit: Tranquil Tuesdays

Visitors to Jingdezhen can see how craftsman continue to use the same techniques Chinese porcelain traditions have relied on for centuries at demonstrations in the Ancient Kilns. In the pictures above, you can see a photo taken in the 1920’s and one I took two years ago. As you can see, not much has changed!

To discover what is new and fresh in the ancient town of Jingdezhen, visitors can also visit many different studios and galleries of younger talents based in Jingdezhen who seek to bring a modern twist to China’s ancient porcelain art.

Photo credit: Tranquil Tuesdays

For anyone fascinated with Chinese porcelain crafting traditions, a pilgrimage to Jingdezhen is the place for you! If you want to learn more about Jingdezhen and China’s unique design and art traditions, read more here.

 

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Charlene Wang regularly travels to Jingdezhen, China to work with the emerging Chinese artisans who handcraft Tranquil Tuesdaysauthentically beautiful and exclusive teaware collection.

 

July 18, 2013

Complete Pandemonium

China loves its pandas, and so do we, from their pretty little faces to their fuzzy little tails. Did you know that China is the only place panda bears live, and the country has 37 official panda protecting areas? In the land where this bear is a national treasure, of course we caught a case of pandemonium.

Shop our Pretty Panda Graphic Tee now!

 

July 9, 2013

Polka Dots For Everyone!

When four of Tea’s finest were spotted in polka dots, we couldn’t resist a picture! Have your little one join the fun with our new Modern Dot Bubble Dress. In the Beijing art district known as Dashanzi or 798, we loved seeing the art that abounds in galleries and on the street. It inspired this dress!

June 17, 2013

Dresses + Leggings

June 4, 2013

We Go There

Tea brings worldwide cultures and modern design to children’s fashion. Twice each year we pack our bags, travel the globe, explore and discover, and then bring it all home in original designs that express the spirit of our adventures abroad. We go there.

We found this early video of Emily and had to share it with you. It’s the story of how it began and why we continue to explore.

 

April 4, 2013

How Does Tea Inspire You?

A year ago we traveled to South Africa and were inspired to create the pieces you see in our current collection. We reached out to three of our favorite crafting bloggers to see how our collection inspires them. You wouldn’t believe the amazing projects they’ve come up with! But, before we share their projects with you, we’d like to share a little project of our own.

 

Our Nova Trapeze Mini Dress was the main inspiration behind our project.

The pattern is bold & colorful, reminding us of exotic fruits. This is a no fuss dress, so we thought it was important that our project was too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Big Thank You to Stacy, Helen, and Rachel for being a part of this!

January 29, 2013

Black Mambas and the Elephant Whisperer

Discover the inspiration behind one of our favorite boys tops, the Black Mamba Tee.

Black Mamba Tee

Hiss-Hiss make this Black Mamba tee ‘hiss’ own.

African Elephant at Thula Thula.

Elephants at Thula Thula.

On a Thula Thula Safari jeep.

Me on my safari jeep with the Thula Thula staff.

At the end of our South Africa adventures I went to visit Thula Thula – the game reserve owned by Lawrence Anthony, author of the Elephant Whisperer – a book I decided to reread on our trip. The first night I was there – I was literally the only guest. I went to dinner and on the nightly safari drive with the staff and as it turns out, a few of the people from the book I was reading. It was a little scary sleeping in your own little house by yourself with no one else around. I heard a few creatures around my room throughout the night – but just kept telling myself they were only geckos so it was no big deal.

Rhinoceros roaming at Thula Thula.

Rhinos at Thula Thula.

Giraffe at Thula Thula.

Hello, way up there!

The next day in between a morning bush walk and lunch, I went back to my room/cottage to read. I’ve never been especially squeamish around snakes – I watched a lot of crocodile hunter and “knew” how to deal with the poisonous ones. Then I get to the section in the book where one of the staff at Thula Thula gets bit by a black mamba, because he tried to grab it – crocodile hunter style. So then they talk about how you have 30 minutes to get anti venom but they can’t keep it on site because it goes bad too quickly. They have to rush this staff member to the nearest hospital – 45 minutes away. The math is not adding up to me and things aren’t sounding good for this poor guy. It was now time for lunch so I put my book away and glance up at the top of my mosquito net – and what do I see? A smiling black snake looking down at me. Well crap, now I am scared of snakes, or at least this snake. So while still in the safety of my mosquito net I try to get as close as possible to the door of my room. But every move I make the snake follows. I finally get the courage to brave it and leap for the door.

I went and found a ranger. He and the manager came back to my room to identify what kind of snake it was. Obviously, he was no longer in the same spot when they got there. But I wouldn’t let them leave till we found him because logically, I assumed the snake was going to hide in my luggage and wait to make surprise attack back in San Francisco. So we are all looking around my room and finally we spot the snake. But we are all pointing in different directions, because apparently it was a entire family of snakes that was lodging with me.

Well it turned out they were just a friendly black house snakes, so I was safe. But the experience inspired me to design our Black Mamba Tee. Black mambas actually do look quite friendly, so I made him a little scarier so his look better matched his reputation as the “deadliest snake in Africa.”  Like what you see here?  Check out all our new boys outfits.

House snake compared to a Black Mamba.

A common house snake on your left and a deadly Black Mamba on the right.

Who do you think looks more friendly? The house snake is on the left and the Black Mamba is on the right.

image credits: house snake, black mamba