“More is more” might be the official mantra of the interior design industry in 2021. We explained this shift in our recent Living Deep Into the Deep article “Personality is Back in Style: Making Eclecticism Work in Your Home." The article noted that eclectic interiors -- from dining rooms to home offices -- will be everywhere this year. Retro block prints, graphic colors, bold embroidery and vintage patterns are all expected to establish quite the comeback throughout the next year. Decorators and homeowners alike should expect to see a surge in interest in the floral chintzes and toiles of “grandmillennial” and “granny chic.” They should also expect to see pieces honoring the organic forms of post-modern Italian design. The geometric, graphic and linear designs of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods have also reemerged. They have grabbed attention as interest in antique furniture and decor has rebounded. Mixing and matching patterns and textures to create cozy interiors filled with contrast and visual interest has also become popular. This is also one of the first steps in infusing one’s home with character. Few homeware designers have created such exciting, impactful and beautiful homeware prints as the following three creatives. Some of these designers are emerging while others are quite established. Follow below for more information about incredible Black female textile designers like Hana Getachew, Rochelle Porter and Tiffany Thompson. Later this month, we will also discuss work by Monica Jacobs, Janine Lecour, Keita Turner and Natalie Manima.
3 Black Female Textile Designers Whose Homeware Prints We Love in 2021
Hana Getachew of Bolé Road Textiles
An architect, interior designer, fine artist and all-around creative, Hana Getachew is a woman of many hats. She is also a frequent mention in articles by prominent fashion, home decor and interiors magazines and the recipient of many awards. In a recent article for Elle Decor, Kelley Carter describes the Ethiopina’born designer’s work as rich, graphic and inspired by “her cultural inheritance.” According to Carter, the soft goods produced and sold by her company Bolé Road Textiles reference Getachew's heritage. They pull colors and concepts from her “childhood home filled with traditional Ethiopian fabrics.” Her pieces are produced ethically and transparently, as shown in a series of photos posted by Getachew to the Bolé Road Textiles’ Instagram page.
Lauren Wicks echoes Carter’s description in a recent article for Veranda. Wicks notes that Getachew's designs are drafted in Brooklyn and then handwoven by artisans in Ethiopia. Bolé Road Textiles offers stunning “one-of-a-kind bath mats, curtains, rugs, wall hangings, and more,” ranging tonally from soft neutrals to vibrant, near-neon shades. Over the last decade, Getachew has been recognized by her peers and by respected institutions for her exceptional work. She received the AIA Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture from the American Institute of Architects in 2015. She was also the 2013 recipient of the Interior Design Best of the Year award, issued by Interior Design Magazine. That same year she received the AIA DC Merit Award for Interior Architecture from the American Institute of Architects.
In a Q&A for her SAY IT LOUD - NOW exhibitor profile through Beyond the Built Environment, Getachew expressed that what excited her most about her work is “get[ting] to be a steward of [her] culture and share stories of Ethiopia.” For SAY IT LOUD - NOW, Getachew presented her Harar Collection, which was “inspired by a region in Ethiopia with the same name.” Getachew was drawn to the area “because of the stark contrast between the fortress-like architecture and the fluidity and color of the local dress.” She continues to note that the patterns chosen for the Harar Collection “vary greatly." They range in style from "minimal grid forms to ornate geometric embroidery." All together, they capture "the essence of the city which inspired this eponymous line.”
To view more pieces from Getachew’s Harar Collection, head over to the Bolé Road Textiles website. We particularly love her Harar Wall Hanging in Fuschia. Getachew’s neon and jewel-toned homeware pieces are perfectly on-trend in 2021. They and can be used in virtually any space that needs a pop of color! At the time of the interview, Getachew noted her proudest achievement: the fact that her products “would soon be carried by DWR." Today, buyers can purchase pillows, rugs and bath mats from Getachew’s line on the Design Within Reach website and from West Elm. Follow Hana Getachew’s New York studio on Instagram here.
Rochelle Porter of Rochelle Porter Design
Shop Rochelle Porter Design’s collaboration with West Elm: the Rochelle Porter Design Table Runner in Oga, the Rochelle Porter Design Table Runner in Tribe and the Rochelle Porter Design Pillow Cover in Velvet in Mali.
Before founding Rochelle Porter Design in Atlanta in August of 2015, Rochelle Porter worked as a writer, editor and media and communications consultant. She drew on her BAs in English and History from Rutgers University and her MA in Media Studies from The New School. She also worked as the owner and Chief Marketing Writer for Kenotype, a marketing communications firm based in Atlanta. As a homeware designer, Rochelle Porter focuses on sustainability and ethical production while honoring her personal style and family history. In the “Our Story” section of the RPD website, the company explains that Porter has been “a lifelong lover of global design traditions.” In her printmaking, Porter “takes cues from the breezy hues of her Caribbean roots." She is also inspired by "the stark simplicity of Scandinavian design and the bold geometrics of West African weaves." Together, these create "vibrant, eye-catching” pieces."
In a recent article for House Beautiful, Isabel Garcia outlined Porter’s commitment to creating beautiful pieces while respecting her workers and the planet. Porter’s 2020 West Elm line features a number of “super chic black and white home decor.” These pieces include table runners and pillow covers and tea towels. According to Garcia, the line “is full of luxe pieces to elevate your home” with their “premium velvet, organic cotton and linen fabrics." All are created in “one-of-a-kind black and white prints hand-designed by Porter.” Perhaps best of all, each piece from the collaboration “is printed with eco-friendly dyes…[and] is produced domestically using sustainable materials.” When asked about her participation in the collaboration, Porter expressed her excitement over joining the West Elm brand. Porter noted that she is "'always impressed by the company’s welcoming culture and support of independent makers.'” Garcia notes that West Elm’s RPD decor line is part of their “commitment to the 15 Percent Pledge." This pledge "calls on major retailers to allocate at least 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.”
Not all of Porter’s creations are monochromatic, but each is impactful and stunning. One of her more colorful pieces is the Cape Town FUN! Pillow Cover, the listing of which describes the product as “inspired by the poppin’ painted houses of South Africa’s coastal Bo-Kaap neighborhood.” The RPD website explains that the brand is intended to “bring bursts of joy to the everyday.” The site is full of “vibrant prints derived from [the] founder's original artwork and colorful Caribbean roots.” Porter’s commitment to ethical production is not solely relegated to her collaboration with West Elm. In fact, this commitment to “fair pay, ethical manufacturing and the use of sustainable materials” traces through each piece and process of RPD. The company ensures that “everyone along [their] value chain…[lives] well—from the farmer who picks the organic cotton for [their] throw pillows, to the customer who puts them on her sofa.” To keep up with Rochelle Porter Design, follow the brand on Instagram.
Tiffany Thompson of Duett Interiors
For a “granny chic” interior with a flourish of modern femininity and a dash of daring, look no further than the “Batman of the design world.” Tiffany Thompson’s Duett Home collection answers this call perfectly. According to her bio in the Black Artists + Designers Guild directory, the interstate designer began her journey in New York City. She later continued on to Miami, Florida and Portland, Oregon. As an interior designer, Thompson founded Duett Interiors. The company is “a small firm focused on residential design and home decor." It mixes modern and contemporary styles in the fresh yet timeless spaces Thompson creates. Her goal, as outlined by her bio from BA+DG, is to “provide safe, beautiful spaces for clients.” She also hopes to elicit emotion rather than “selling products or aesthetics.” The “About” page on Duett Home’s website quotes Thompson directly. Here she describes her style as “a merger of brutalism, wabi-sabi and a new defined minimalism.” She also notes how growing up in New York City pushed her towards realizing her artistic potential. Thompson explains that the experiences she had there exposed her “to a world of design, culture and art at such a young age.” It was in the “melting pot” of New York City that Thompson was able to pull inspiration. She did so from the wide variety of “artistic styles and creativity [that] set the foundation for whom [she is] today.”
While Thompson has always been a creative, she was not always a self-employed interior designer, at the helm of her own well-regarded business. Kelly Dawson explains Thompson’s career trajectory in the Architectural Digest article “This Interior Designer Turned Her Cookie-Cutter Town House Into a Personal Art Gallery.” Dawson writes that when Thompson purchased the home referenced in the title of this article in 2016, “she was working at Nike.” In her Portland, Oregon home, Thompson created a bold and moody, yet completely livable and comfortable space for herself and her family. Highly personal throughout the home, yet perfectly neutral in more meditative spaces, Thompson’s Portland town home perfectly reflects Duett Home’s ethos.
In the midst of a successful interior design career spanning the US, Thompson decided to create a homeware brand alongside Duett Interiors. For her collection, Thompson pulled inspiration once more from her upbringing. Nicoletta Richardson explains the thought behind Thompson’s Duett Home collection in her recent article for Apartment Therapy. Richardson describes the home collection as one “inspired by the founder Tiffany Thompson’s grandmother, filled with plastic-covered pillows with a stylish twist.” Thompson’s pillows -- each nestled in a protective plastic slip -- remind us all of our grandmothers. Their vibrantly decorated, somewhat kitschy living rooms covered in the slippery -- and in the summer, sticky -- plastic sleeves were memorable. Through these spaces, our grandmothers taught us about style and panache while preserving the special pieces they loved. Sentimental yet perfectly on-trend, Thompson’s pillows are both luxe and gentle on the earth. Her handmade jacquard and printed weave pillows are all covered in recycled PVC plastic. Our favorites include the La Paz Pillow -- a lovely blush and burgundy floral pattern -- and the Lyon Pillow -- with its dark blue and small scale pink floral pattern. Follow Duett Interiors and Thompson via Instagram.