In this series, Man Repeller shines a light on standout independent, Black-owned fashion labels we think you should know about (and shop from!). And in turn, they’re passing the baton and spotlighting a handful of businesses they know and love. Today we have Liya Kebede, founder and creative director of lemlem.
lemlem, an ethical label informed by Kebede’s Ethiopian roots with all garments and goods made by local artisans in Africa.
If we drew a three-adjective Venn diagram, lemlem would sit in the center of:
Breezy, gossamery, conscientious
Okay, this isn’t as far-fetched a fantasy as the rest. You’re keen to get Vitamin D from something other than a lemon-colored supplement. The term “tanline” sounds archaic to your ears. You want one swimsuit for the summer so that you can bask in some sunshine during your lunch break. You ask your friend where she got that swimsuit of hers that you’ve always loved so much, and from there it’s a beeline to the lemlem website. Do you get the orange high-waisted bottoms with a triangle bikini or an off-the-shoulder top? A ballet-inspired one-piece, or maybe this one that ties at the shoulders? Unless it’s time for this olive-colored string bikini? Or is this summer more about the halter-and-belt combo? Once you narrow it down to a winner, you’re one beach towel away from splaying out comfortably on your fire escape.
Black entrepreneurship in Kebede’s words:
“The double tragedies and heartbreaking losses of these past weeks—from the violence and the pandemic—remind me once again that we have to work together to break down barriers to justice, health, and opportunities—for everyone. Today, I’m focused harder than ever on our mission at lemlem, and redoubling our efforts to create good jobs and opportunities for Black artisans to have a path into the fashion market, to share and have their beautiful craftsmanship recognized.”
Want more? Check out MR Market Strategist Elizabeth Tamkin’s database of more than 600 Black-owned brands, along with some of her personal shopping recommendations. If you have a suggestion that you think should be added, please share it in the comments.