Do Good – Shop Lemlem

Say Ethiopia and many westerners conjure up images of dusty, starving children, staring glassy eyed into a camera while Sally Struthers pleads with us to save the children.  Unfortunately, there is good reason these images come to mind.  Almost twenty years ago famines were so bad in Ethiopia it claimed hundreds of thousands of live.  Fast forward to today though, and the country is slowly, but surely, recovering from that disaster.  And there are good things happening there.  One of which is the survival of the ancient process of hand spinning, embroidering, and weaving of beautiful cotton garments.  Liya Kebede, Ethiopian model, actress, and philanthropist, created lemlem, which showcases and sales these garments made by the artisans of Ethiopia.  Lemlem means to flourish or bloom, and that is exactly what lemlem helps these weavers do.  Here are some of my favorite pieces from the lemlem website…


Gama Woven Tee – $200

More colors available

A beautiful stripped woven tee with contrasting stripes at the cuffs.  75% cotton, 25% rayon, and all made by hand.  Definitely something you want to hand wash or dry clean.


Dolollo Patio Dress – $225

Perfect on hot days

This 100% cotton beauty is constructed from multiple weave techniques.  Perfect for a casual summer outing.  To see this dress on a model, follow this link to the J. Crew website.


Baba Everyday Bag – $175

Use it for.... everything!

At 18″ across, and 13″ deep, you truly can use this bag for just about everything.  It can even accommodate a laptop if needed.  Interior is patterned, and can be reversed to become the exterior of the bag.  The bag is 60% cotton, 40% acrylic, and 100% stylish.


Loomoot Skirt – $175

Love Loomoot

This breezy little number is perfect for summer festivals in the city, or even lounging on your patio reading.  Mostly cotton, with a little acrylic thrown in.  It sits at the waist and is knee length.  Zipper closure.  Looking for bolder colors?  Try the Lila Skirt.


Losha Split Scarf – $160 & Classic Adama Scarf – $125

Warm weather scarves indeed

One of the things that fist drew me to lemlem were the scarves.  Beautifully woven, and light.  I’m sure you can wear them during the winter, but these just beg to be worn during warmer months.  The Losha Split Scarf actually has a split in the middle of the scarf to put your head through, then you wrap it.  It would be great for an outdoor concert that might require a little extra protection for your bare shoulders.  The vibrant colors and gauzey nature of the Adama Scarf will add a point of interest to a plain old tank top.


What do you think of lemlem?  Know of any other retailers that support independence and sustainability for people?  Leave it in the comments below…


Header image courtesy of Juliana Coutinho


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