To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write a blog post to share their adventures with all of us (and the world)! We’ve had a hard time controlling our jealously here in the office since Amanda, our Senior Marketing Manager, first booked her trip. Now she shares her stories with all of us!
During my trip to Japan I was lucky to visit many places – Toyko, Kyoto, Mount Koya, Takayama, and Hakone. If you are traveling to Japan, I would urge you to put Kyoto at the top of your list. Hands down, it was my favorite stop of my trip. As I explored Kyoto, I stumbled upon a magnificent shrine or temple around every corner. Kyoto is actually known as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines! The most spectacular of these was the Kinkaku-ji (or as I called it, the gold shrine). The juxtaposition of ancient culture mixed with an ultra-modern society, it was fascinating and truly breathtaking.
At Tea, we have a mantra: “We Go There.” And we mean it. Every six months, our designers literally go out into the world to discover the beauty that inspires each of our clothing collections. This year, for our India collection, we decided to embrace “going there” in a whole new way… with our children! For the first time ever, Emily and her family followed in the designers footsteps and traveled across the globe with her husband Hilton and two children, Clement, 6, and Georgia, 4 (and grandma too!). Throughout the month of May, Tea will be sharing Emily’s journey with you. We will have many stories, new products, and lots of beautiful imagery (her experience was captured by Hideaki Hamada) and lots more! Here are just a few highlights from the trip…
We were very luck to find Gouthami for our trip to India. Before she started her own travel company – Travel Another India – she spent 20 years working in social development and had made many great connections with craft people all over India. Gouthami introduced us to so many artisans and we had the pleasure of meeting many President Award winning craft people in remote villages. Here, she shares her knowledge on crafts in India with our readers!
Craft is the second largest employer in rural India after agriculture. In most villages you will find some form of craft – the potter, the weaver, the basket maker. It is still a way of life rather than an art to be practiced for its own sake.
In this picture you see just that. I visited the village of Nuapatna in the state of Odisha in Eastern India with the Tea Collection team.
Nuapatna is famous for its intricate Ikat weaving. In the background you can see the spindles of yarn casually stuck into the pile of sand, while the woman in the picture is wearing a hand-woven ikat sari as she goes about her daily chores.
Goa is a coastal gem found in west India bordering the Arabian Sea. As the smallest state in India, over 80% of Goa is compromised of beaches with swaying palm trees, deep blue water and sandy beaches. Both locals and tourists make the trip to discover the beaches many different attractions. Check out our newest swim styles inspired by these beautiful beaches!
Modern India takes great care and pride to retain the extraordinary refinement of its many palaces, old temples and ancient forts. We’ve fondly named our newest delivery, Paisley Palace. From the stunning marble dome of the Taj Mahal to the ornate arches of the Mysore Palace to the spectacular paintings that adorn the Amer Fort, there is no lack of inspiration in the architecture in India. Many of our designs in this collection are named after these great palaces! Take a look at the history of these great sites to better understand the story behind the design.
The Amer Fort was built by the conqueror Raja Man Singh who ruled from 1590-1614 AD. On our visit here, we rode painted elephants and admired the red curtains that framed the fort. We were inspired by the elaborate painted motifs on the walls and ceilings in the Jaipur City Palace.
In the Bengali region of India, it is a tradition for a grandmother to make each of their grandchildren a kantha quilt. The quilt is made out of three layers of fabric most commonly, strips of worn sari’s because the material is super soft against the babies’ skin and perfect for nap time or cuddling. The tradition of the kantha quilt is a way of connecting with family, even after the grandparents are gone. It is such an important tradition that the grandmother’s will make extra kantha quilts so that if she passes away before all of her grandchildren are born, they will still have a quilt.
Everywhere we went in India, we passed women dressed in beautifully vibrant saris. You could not help but be in awe of their beauty, our pictures do not do them justice! We were very inspired by the colors and embroidery seen on the saris.