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?
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.
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!
Are you familiar with Picasso’s work in clay? I didn’t realized that Picasso was so passionate about clay. His ceramic pieces ended up being some of my favorite. They inspired many of our graphics for our Catalonia collection.
Peacocks were popular in the Modernisme and Art Nouveau movements (right). We especially loved these lesser known drawings of peacocks by two of Spain’s most famous artists (left), Salvador Dalí (top) and Joan Miró (bottom).
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.
Oscar de la Renta’s outdone himself with his latest Resort 2012 Collection. Drawing inspiration from Spain’s cubist artists such as Picasso, his line celebrates bold patterns and geometric shapes, much like Tea’s current Catalonia-inspired collection.
We love the way he’s transformed this artistic movement into an edgy line of urban couture. Bright colors and textures are combined with simply-cut dresses to create a timeless collection.
There is so much inspiration to be drawn from art movements in Spain. Below are a few pieces of Tea’s interpretation of Cubism and Picasso’s art:
In the spirit of our current destination Catalonia, and spurred on by one of my favorite food(ie) newsletters and sites, Tasting Table, my husband Tom and I went on an excursion to the Noe Valley restaurant Contigo for Calçots, a special variety of spring onion from Catalonia, Spain.
We had first seen them picked, grilled and devoured “live” on the PBS Series, Spain…On the Road Againwith Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, Gwynneth Paltrow and Claudia Bassols. Needless to say, when I got my Tasting Table email, I was salivating.
At Contigo, they came two ways – roasted on the grill and in a light tempura coating. The accompanying sauce, salvitxada, was amazing, kind of like a romesco, but a bit different (roasted red peppers, garlic, nuts and red wine vinegar).
I forgot to snap a photo, but here’s a pic to give you a sense of what calçots are all about:
We tried some other dishes, including the Catalan style chard and the flatbread. And we enjoyed our tour of Spanish wines. It was a transporting and tasty experience just a couple miles from our home. Proof that you can go there across the street.
Here’s a salvitxada recipe if you’d like to try the sauce on for yourself. I think I’ll grill some veggies this weekend and give it a go. Happy tasting and Happy Mother’s Day and love to my mom and all the moms out there!
We spent the day in the whitewashed coastal Catalan town of Cadaqués, Spain, taking in the spirit of the resort’s brilliantly beautiful seaside scenes and warm, clear air. It was even a bit surreal, did we just spot Salvador Dali watching the sailboat races? Maybe it was just a sign that we felt right at home in the St. Tropez of Spain.
Back in San Francisco, we created a summer collection in hues of blue with accents of white, light green and sunny yellow. You and your kids will love the throwback style of our nautical graphics, cabana stripes and pastel patterns. Vintage nautical silhouettes, graphics and patterns are lent mellow modern touches throughout the collection.
Our Catalonia tile theme continues unabated here with prints reflective of tiles found on the seaside houses of Cadaques. We’ve also infused a number of floral artwork pieces with a distinctively Catalonian painted pottery flavor.
Go coastal with us this summer. We can’t wait to see you. And definitely bring your kids.