(Entrepreneur)

Bolé Road Textiles’ Signature Style Is Inspired By Ethiopian Culture

So vibrant.

By Tiffany Harrison
@boleroadtextiles
bole road textiles hana getachew

Among the muses that encouraged the cultivation of Hana Getachew’s aesthetic growing up was her mother’s incredibly colorful wardrobe, as well as her childhood home, which was filled with vibrant textiles. Always enamored by bright hues, Getachew says that color possesses the ability to elevate one’s mood and spirit, and it’s so imperative to incorporate it into one’s home as this is where you spend much of your time. “I suppose the love of color is innate in all people; I just happen to be a creative and obsess over it in my work,” says Getachew to TZR, referring to her home textile company Bolé Road Textiles. “Traditional Ethiopian textiles are also intensely colorful and dramatic; I am heavily influenced by them.”

Indeed, the textile company’s designs are conceptualized around two important voyages taken by Getachew. The first was her initial departure from Ethiopia to America as a toddler, and the second was the pilgrimage back to her country some two decades later to reconnect with her homeland. The founder explains that, in creating Bolé Road’s signature home décor collections, she sought to unearth and incorporate the visual landscape of her native country.

The label’s offerings are known to feature exuberant colors, shapes, and tessellations adorned on an assortment of home products like pillows, blankets, rugs, and an extensive catalog of other items. In each product, the artisanal brand showcases Ethiopian craftsmanship, sustainability, and the preservation of ancient Ethiopian textile crafting techniques — with a modern twist. Engrained in every piece is also the influence of sojourning (Getachew believes it is fundamental to travel, as it fuels your imagination and enriches your creativity).

Obtaining a degree in interior design from Cornell University, design and artistry have always been driving passions for Getachew. The founder worked as an associate principal designer at the architectural firm STUDIOS Architecture in New York City for 11 years. Her tenure at the company certainly prepared her for her creative entrepreneurial endeavors, as she was deeply immersed in the design process and worked on a range of projects as well — both small and large scale. “I was a workplace designer, mostly space planning, drafting, and [overseeing] construction management,” explains Getachew. “I loved the finished selection portion of our projects, where I got to select the color palette and materials. My clients were always reigning me in!”

Upon returning to Ethiopia for a personal visit some 20 years after moving to the states, the trip left Getachew brimming with fulfillment, immense gratitude, and an abundance of creative inspiration. From that fateful journey, Bolé Road Textiles — named after a street in Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa — was born. The inaugural Konso collection, also derived from the sojourn, featured a myriad of vibrant colors inspired by the women’s garments in the region, setting a tone for the brand’s colorful and culturally rooted aesthetic.

Aside from the capital city, Bolé Road’s products are inspired by other locales in Ethiopia as well. Take, for instance, the brand’s Omo Valley collection, which draws from the polychrome color-blocked garments the children of the area are often wrapped in, as well as the colorful accessories they sport, including barrettes, beads, and other body adornments. Then there’s the Harar collection, inspired by the eastern city of Harar. Likely one of the most exuberant of Bolé Road’s curated selections, the line is guided by the colorful dresses and headscarves that the Muslim women wear in this region. This assortment features an array 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 suppose it’s a rolling favorite of whatever region I’m pursuing.”

In addition to her point of inspiration, Getachew also sources from the pool of Ethiopian artisans to create her decor masterpieces. In the East African country, hand-weaving practices have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. Materials utilized in the process are ethically sourced and crafted with natural Ethiopian cotton. The 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 artistry and traditions of textile production while also simultaneously incorporating a modern and updated feel. Getachew explains that it all ties back to one of the main missions of the company — to continuously nurture, support, and sustain women’s businesses as well as the livelihood of all artisans in Ethiopia.

From concept to execution, the design process can sometimes be a nonlinear one, the founder explains. As Getachew drafts up designs, she creates size specs and properly allocates colors, and when she’s finished, she sends them to the artists in Ethiopia to begin hand-weaving the samples. Oftentimes, the artisans execute the design exponentially better than the founder initially visualized, which is the beauty in working with craftsmen and women. These creatives can see more potential in a design and transform it to be more grandiose than originally intended. “I just get to explore and get inspired,” Getachew explains. “When I am about to see how a design came together, there’s a heightened sense of excitement that’s exhilarating!”

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