Among the muses who encouraged the growth of Hana Getachew’s aesthetic was her mother’s incredibly colorful wardrobe, as well as her childhood home, which was filled with vibrant textiles. Always in love with bright hues, Getachew says color has the ability to uplift the mood and spirit, and it’s so imperative to incorporate it into her home because it’s where you spend so much of your time. weather. “I guess the love of color is innate in everyone; I happen to be a designer and obsess over it in my work,” Getachew tells TZR, referring to her home textile company Bolé Road Textiles. “Traditional Ethiopian textiles are also intensely colorful and dramatic; I am strongly influenced by them.
Indeed, the creations of the textile company are conceptualized around two important journeys undertaken by Getachew. The first was his initial departure from Ethiopia to America as a toddler, and the second was the pilgrimage back to his country some two decades later to reconnect with his homeland. The founder explains that in creating Bolé Road’s signature interior design collections, she sought to unearth and incorporate the visual landscape of her homeland.
The brand’s offerings are known for featuring ornate exuberant colors, shapes, and tessellations on an assortment of home products like pillows, blankets, rugs, and a vast catalog of other items. In each product, the artisan brand showcases Ethiopian craftsmanship, sustainability and the preservation of ancient Ethiopian textile craft techniques – with a modern twist. The influence of living is also ingrained in every room (Getachew believes traveling is fundamental, as it fuels your imagination and enriches your creativity).
Graduating with a degree in interior design from Cornell University, design and art have always been passions for Getachew. The founder worked as an associate principal designer at the architectural firm STUDIOS Architecture in New York for 11 years. Her tenure with the company certainly prepared her for her creative entrepreneurial endeavours, as she was deeply immersed in the design process and also worked on a range of projects – small and large scale. “I was a workplace designer, mostly space planning, drawing and [overseeing] construction management,” says Getachew. “I loved the final selection part of our projects, where I was able to select the color palette and materials. My clients always towered over me!
Upon returning to Ethiopia for a personal visit some 20 years after moving to the United States, the trip left Getachew brimming with fulfillment, immense gratitude and an abundance of creative inspiration. From this fateful trip, Bolé Road Textiles – named after a street in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa – was born. The inaugural Konso collection, also derived from the stay, featured a myriad of vibrant colors inspired by women’s clothing from the region, setting the tone for the brand’s colorful and culturally rooted aesthetic.
Besides the capital, Bolé Road’s products are also inspired by other localities in Ethiopia. Take, for example, the brand’s Omo Valley collection, which draws inspiration from the polychrome, color-contrasting garments that local children are often wrapped in, as well as the colorful accessories they sport, including barrettes, beads and other body ornaments. Then there is the Harar collection, inspired by the eastern city of Harar. Probably one of Bolé Road’s most exuberant selections, the line is driven by the colorful dresses and headscarves that Muslim women wear in this area. This assortment includes a range of fully saturated pillows, rugs and a new collection of round leather coasters.
“Developing each collection allows me to dive in and research each region I hope to capture,” says Getachew. “The more I learn, the more enchanted I become with a place, so I guess it’s one of the favorites of all the regions that I pursue.
In addition to its point of inspiration, Getachew also taps into the pool of Ethiopian artisans to create its decorative masterpieces. In this East African country, hand weaving practices have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. The materials used in the process are ethically sourced and made with natural Ethiopian cotton. Yarns are also hand spun as well as hand dyed and all pieces are cut, sewn and finished in Ethiopia. For Bolé Road, it is imperative to support and protect the ancient craftsmanship and traditions of textile production while simultaneously incorporating a modern and updated feel. Getachew explains that this all ties into one of the company’s core missions: to continuously nurture, support and support women’s businesses as well as the livelihoods of all artisans in Ethiopia.
From concept to execution, the design process can sometimes be non-linear, explains the founder. As Getachew drafts designs, she creates size specifications and correctly assigns colors, and when she’s finished, she sends them off to artists in Ethiopia to begin weaving the samples by hand. Often the craftsmen execute the design exponentially better than the originally envisioned founder, which is the beauty of working with craftsmen. These creatives can see more potential in a design and transform it to be grander than originally intended. “I can just explore and get inspired,” says Getachew. “When I’m about to see how a design has come to fruition, there’s a heightened sense of excitement that’s exhilarating!”
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