Tag Archives: Destination: Modern Mexico

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 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:

 

Bird of Paradise Dress

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 seen a bird of paradise flower? I never had, until I moved to California. They flower everywhere here, lining gardens and growing like weeds in front of stores. Sometimes I forget about them until I have visitors from out of town, who can’t believe how easily they grow in California.

Birds of paradise are popular in Mexico as well, and we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to create a dress influenced both by the flower and its namesake bird. In a mercado in Mexico City we found a woman’s shirt (above right) that became the inspiration for our Bird of Paradise dress (above left).

Lightweight poplin cotton, this dress is perfect for hot summers, and can be layered over our radish-colored leggings for cooler evenings.

Do you have a favorite bird or flower you’d like to see on a Tea dress?

June 29, 2011

Modern Mexico Inspiration Video

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

To start off our new Behind the Design Wednesdays and to kick off our new Modern Mexico collection for girls and boys, we thought we’d post a video of footage shot while our designers were traveling around Mexico.  We’ll release more of this collection in the coming weeks! We hope you feel as inspired as we do.

 

June 20, 2011

Welcome to Modern Mexico!

Welcome to our Fall 2011 collection,  inspired by Modern Mexico! Our designers traveled to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and San Cristobal, and immersed themselves in the culture to gather inspiration for this new line.  Loving the bright vivid colors, intricate embroidery, and bustling marketplaces, they returned to San Francisco to design our latest collection.  We have a small release and preview of what’s to come up on our site, so head over to check out our latest girl’s and boy’s clothes.

For the next few weeks on Studio T we’ll be wrapping up our Barcelona-inspired summer collection, and moving into the festivities of Modern Mexico. We look forward to taking this journey with you.