Several weeks ago I received an email that took me completely by surprise. Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge reached out to ask me if I would be interested in being featured in her new book, In the Company of Women. I responded right away saying YES, even though I was pretty sure I would receive a follow up email saying it had all been a mix-up and the email was meant for someone else. But it turns out it wasn’t a mix-up, and Grace thanked me for saying yes.
The book highlights 110 women in creative professions. It’s the kind of book I wish I had growing up. I always said I wanted to be an artist, but I had such a limited idea of the breadth of creative careers available. This book is such a wonderful undertaking and I am so honored to be a part of it.
The photo shoot for the book was this past Wednesday. Every woman featured in the book has a portrait taken in her studio or workspace. In my case, my studio is in my home. My first thought was, Oh no, how do I clean up my house and studio to look presentable for a book? My second thought was, Oh no, what do I wear? I deliberated on the latter. I initially thought I wanted to portray myself as a sophisticated designer so I thought – I’ll wear a simple but bold, tailored dress, probably DVF which is my go to for a ‘professional’ look. Then I had to remind myself about who I was at the present moment, and how I would want to represent myself, not Hana Getachew, the corporate interior designer but Hana Getachew – Creative Director of Bolé Road Textiles, a company I founded to be more connected to my home country of Ethiopia. I knew I needed to wear an Ethiopian dress. What better way to represent myself and my work, which is dedicated to sharing the heritage of Ethiopia?
I wore a simple, modern dress that I purchased in a shop in Bole during my stay in Addis Ababa last year (yes, Bole, as in Bolé Road – read more here). In the mornings I would ride with my father to his office where I would set up shop to work on the day’s Bolé business. On our way home each evening we passed a shop that had this dress in the window. And each evening I thought to myself, I need to have this dress. I hadn’t seen an Ethiopian dress like it before. It’s a sleeveless, below the knee A-line dress with a collar. So me. It’s incredibly modern, with a white on white tibeb (pattern) on the hem and collar, which is quite rare in Ethiopian dresses.
Initially I thought I’d wear the dress to launch the company, but changed my mind at the last moment (opting instead for a series of white Club Monaco dresses seen here, here and here). I am happy I saved it for an equally special occasion. Along with my Ethiopian jewelry, my look was complete.
The dress embodies the essence of Bolé Road. It’s modern, simple, and unmistakably Ethiopian. I am proud to represent my culture, both through this dress and through Bolé Road Textiles.