Economics

How Liya Kebede gave back to Ethiopia, her home country

14 Feb, 2018 • by Fashionomics Africa
How Liya Kebede gave back to Ethiopia, her home country
Fashionomics Africa

Liya Kebede has been on a rise in New York’s fashion world, starring in several Tom Ford campaigns and walking Miuccia Prada’s runways a couple of months back. She also is the creator behind Lemlen, a brand that she created in order to find a solution to a problem. She had observed that “The market of the weaving had gone down a lot and there were all these artisans that were looking for jobs and not finding any. “ She started to wonder how she could fix that issue.

The way she put her plan in action was by modernizing the silhouettes and by instructing the artisans to weave in stripes of fluo-coloured yarn into the designs. This idea, became quickly her brand signature and sold more than 200 units that first year. Also, she created business connections with stores like J Crew, where she would sell her line and a kid like, which became just as successful. In 2017, production was of more than 25,000 units, with 300 points of distribution across six continents and most importantly, her goal of helping artisans has been accomplished, since she now employs 250 weavers and craftspeople in Ethiopia

Lila Kebede has decided that, after her huge success, the business should be turned into a non-profit, so she did exactly that, created the “Lemlem Foundation” which has expanded its mission of promoting maternal health in Africa to supporting the economic empowerment of African women. She donates 5 percent of all direct sales and proceeds from one-off collaborations to the foundation. Her work has been an inspiration to not only designers around the world, but teaches us how it is possible to solve a problem and also give back to the culture that raised you. This year, her goal is to host its first-ever live presentation during the Resort 2018 spring season and plans to host it in Africa. Here, she will try to raise money in order to grow her business and continue helping her people as much as possible. 

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