Hana Getachew’s first apartment had fuchsia walls and a red sofa. “I used to wear a yellow and orange bubble coat with red and orange sneakers,” adds the designer, who owns Bolé Road Textiles. Though in the hands of the expert, even black and white are as interesting as the zippiest neon: Gradient shades and mixed patterns make for a collection that could be the foundation for a course in color-palette creating. “I’ve made peace with neutrals over the years.”
Getachew can trace her love of vibrant textiles back to when she was growing up. Like many Ethiopian-Americans, she had a closet dedicated to traditional dresses—family members visiting from Ethiopia brought her new ones on each trip and she would spend time carefully sifting through them to pick the perfect garment for a special occasion. “I became obsessed with the different patterns and color combinations,” she says. They formed the basis of her brand today, which perfectly blends punchy, modern hues with traditional handweaving techniques.
We chatted with the pro to glean some insight into how she perfected the art of playing with colors—and got some handy tips to bookmark for our own homes.
On Her Jumping Off Point
My color schemes usually start with a series of photographs. I have a concept or a theme I explore, and I gather as many pictures as I can; then once I pare that down, I use the focused set of images to inspire the palette. For example, our Harar collection came to life by referencing photos from the region—the hues in the clothing, architecture, and decor are so rich.
On Her Personal Playbook
I have so many rules I follow; I’m not even sure how I developed them. I rarely blend cool and warm colors in a pattern, and if I do, I go hard. I also seldom mix tonality in a design; it’s either saturated or muted. And I cannot complete a collection without a blue-and-green combo and a pink-and-orange combo. I try, but I can’t!
On Finding Inspiration When Feeling Stuck
I always look to my travels through Ethiopia, current and past. My trips home have moved me in so many ways: I’ve seen breathtaking beauty in all forms, whether it’s the landscape or an intricately woven basket. It inspires me to create, to capture that mix of awe and joy.
On Styling Tricky Hues
Bring them center stage! Hiding them is only going to make it awkward.
On the Pairing of the Moment
Indigo, fuchsia, and orange. I love these as accents—orange is a great color for a rug. Indigo is amazing for walls, especially in spaces where you want to go a bit more dramatic.
On Tiptoeing into Splashy Color
I find color so stimulating, so I might not go full hot pink everything in a bedroom. I think home textiles are the perfect opportunity to infuse vibrant tones: The smaller the scale, the bolder you can go.
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