Our craftsmanship

Our core collection is 100% hand-woven in Ethiopia

Each lemlem piece from our hand-woven collection is lovingly crafted by exceptional artisans in Ethiopia. We partner with a local women-owned studio that uses traditional cotton weaving techniques and makes our lemlem garnments by hand from weaving to cutting and sewing.


Our founder Liya Kebede and a woman artisan sitting on a bench outside in Ethiopia

From Ethiopia with Love

Liya Kebede’s homeland, Ethiopia, is at the heart of lemlem. It is here that local traditional expertise in cotton handweaving techniques make their way into iconic lemlem designs.

Cotton has been cultivated on Ethiopian farms since ancient times. Hand-spinning and weaving of cotton cloth is an important family tradition passed through generations, with intricate patterns that often tells a story. Traditional clothing is handwoven using white cotton with a finely decorated ‘tibeb’ pattern – which means embellishment in the Ethiopian language ofAmharic. This Tibeb pattern is a key part of manylemlem looks.

Yarn Spinning

Before the fluffy cotton fibres can be woven, they are cleaned to remove any imperfections, then gently drawn out &twisted into yarn. The artisans then load the cotton yarn onto spools and the weaving process is ready to begin.

Woman artisan sitting and spinning cotton yard by hand in Ethiopia
A pile of folded stripy and colorful hand-woven fabrics

Hand-weaving

The weaving process can begin only after the weaver has completed the intricate process preparing the vertical 'warp' threads. This involves stringing individual threads across the whole width of the loom. The weaver can then pass the yarn spool between hand selected 'warp' threads to create the 'weft'. With each pass, the patterns are created.

Washing & drying

Woven fabrics are finally hand washed and dried in the sun next to the studio, to preserve their quality, softness and vibrancy

A smiling woman artisan washing the cotton fabric by hand in Ethiopia outside
Close up of an artisan cutting with scissors a piece of blue fabric

Garment making

Artisans can then bring our designs to life, cutting and sewing each piece individually with love & care from the hand-woven fabrics into our unique silhouettes.

lemlem hand-woven-fabrics

When you travel to Ethiopia, the first thing you notice is unexpected color combinations everywhere: people wearing patterns & colors in a way that you had never seen before, the random vibrant colors against the natural colors, those big bowls and containers, bright and luminous, fruits and vegetables set out for sale on vibrant cloth. A visual feast we wanted to capture in lemlem's fabrics.

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