A traceable Merino wool collection.
Lemlem has partnered with The Woolmark Company to create an 8-piece travel collection, comprising a poncho, wrap, blouses and lounge pants in a palette of slate grey, blue, beige and an eye-catching pink. Merino wool was introduced to Muya Atelier’s production for the first time and the collection also marks The Woolmark Company’s first brand partnership in Africa.
Meaning to ‘bloom and flourish’ in the Ethiopian language of Amharic, lemlem is an artisan-driven label committed to elevating craftsmanship and expanding production and jobs across Africa. Women are at the heart of the label, which is devoted to helping them thrive both within its workshops and beyond through its support for the lemlem Foundation, which drives maternal health and women’s empowerment programs.
“Ethiopia is one of the few places left where traditional clothing is still very much a part of everyday life,” explains lemlem founder Liya Kebede, who is also a renowned supermodel, actress, designer and maternal health advocate. “There are so many interesting and historic design elements incorporated into Ethiopian weaving and we work together with our artisans to include these in our lemlem designs.”
Choose a step below to trace lemlem’s Merino wool.
Grown on the simple mix of sunshine, grass, fresh air and water, Australian Merino wool is nature’s miracle fibre, offering a natural solution to the global apparel and footwear industry.
At the heart of the Australian wool industry are the tens of thousands of woolgrowers who work tirelessly to look after their sheep and the land on which they graze. 100% natural, renewable and biodegradable, lemlem was inspired by the natural beauty and eco-credentials of Australian Merino wool.
Shearing is the process of removing the fleece, which is just like getting a haircut as the wool grows right back. It’s for this reason that wool is truly renewable and is one of the fibre’s many natural benefits.
The shorn wool travels to Italy, where an age-old craft meets modern techniques at leading spinner Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia, who turns the wool into luxurious Merino Extrafine Baruffa yarn.
Merino Extrafine Baruffa yarn. PHOTO: Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia
For more than 160 years Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia has perfected its craft, choosing the world’s finest wool to spin into luxury yarn. It’s for this reason lemlem chose Merino Extrafine Baruffa yarn for its traceable travel collection.
The spun wool leaves Italy for Muya Atelier in Ethiopia, where a collective of hand weavers turn the yarn into garments which honour Ethiopian traditions with a contemporary twist.
Far away from the bright lights of international fashion weeks, the weavers of Muya Atelier continue to perfect the age-old tradition of hand weaving, learning - for the first time - to weave with Australian Merino wool.
“Our aim is to help our weavers advance their skills and versatility so they can earn a good, sustainable living doing work they love and at the same time to build global awareness, encouraging the fashion industry to look to Africa as a source of incredible high-quality craftsmanship.”
“As part of this collaboration The Woolmark Company is sharing its farm-to-factory sustainability expertise with our design team and our artisans,” says Kebede. “With their support we ran a wool masterclass for some of our women weavers to learn the special characteristics of wool, and techniques to make beautiful creations with it. Our aim is to help our weavers advance their skills and versatility so they can earn a good, sustainable living doing work they love and at the same time to build global awareness, encouraging the fashion industry to look to Africa as a source of incredible high-quality craftsmanship.”
The lemlem x Woolmark collection is available now from lemlem.com. Five percent of sales from the main capsule will be donated to the lemlem Foundation, to further programs that support women artisans in Africa. Additionally, The Woolmark Company supported a masterclass for five female weavers, training the women in using Merino wool for the first-time. This special group created a scarf series, and 100% of the sales from each scarf will be donated to the lemlem Foundation.
The weavers of Muya Atelier, Ethiopia.
Kolbrun Yrr Rolandsdottir – images of Liya Kebede
Marilou Daubé – images of Muya Atelier
Film director: Marilou Daubé / @mariloudaube
DP: Nick Perron Siegel / @nickperronsiegel
Music: Tk Sno / @tk_sno