Artisan-driven resortwear brand lemlem quietly launched 15 years ago and quickly acquired a band of high-profile admirers (Eva Chen and Leandra Medine among them), as well as attention from luxury buyers and boutiques worldwide – including Yours Truly!
Now lemlem is back at Calexico to star in our Calexico X Resort Pop-Up, and we couldn’t be happier to carry its beautiful pieces once again.
Supermodel-turned-designer Liya Kebede (you would have seen her iconic Estée Lauder ads) was ahead of her time when she founded lemlem with a clear intention that transcended traditional business objectives: to keep traditional Ethiopian weaving techniques alive and generate jobs for local weavers and embroiderers.

Feel-Good Pieces


Meaning ‘to bloom and flourish’ in Amharic (the Ethiopian language), lemlem is inspired by the one-off handwoven patterns and vibrant combinations seen on the streets of Africa. It’s all about happy colours and chic pieces that are soft to the touch and easy to wear everywhere. 


The artisans at lemlem use centuries-old methods to handcraft the label’s lightweight gauze dresses and colourful kaftans from locally sourced fabrics. Each piece is finished with a scattering of vibrant embroidery.


Speaking to H&M Magazine last year, Kebede said: “For me, lemlem is all about materials and textures. It was the first thing we looked at when we started making collections. It’s very important to me how a dress feels on the body. I want it to be soft, comfortable, easy something that you can wear all the time,” says Liya.





More To The Story


As well as being a leading light in sustainable fashion, Kebede, 44, is a vocal advocate for maternal and child health, using lemlem to promote access to reproductive healthcare and economic opportunities for Ethiopian women.


The initial impetus for lemlem came from a trip to Ethiopia where Kebede met with a community of traditional weavers who no longer had a market for their craft.


Kebede says: “Our idea is to do something beautiful that gives back to the communities we engage with. It’s about creativity and inclusiveness taking the richness of an art form and creating something new.


“I feel like lemlem exists in a parallel universe. We’re doing something special, not necessarily in the competitive race of the fashion. We’re focused on sustainability and the giving-back aspect even more than the business itself,” said Kebede.


Shop new lemlem at the Calexico X Resort Pop-Up