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Liya Kebede: My label is innovative

Liya Kebede: My label is innovative

Liya Kebede sees her clothing label as a trendsetter.

The Ethiopian-born model is behind Lemlem, a brand that promotes pieces from budding African designers. It’s now in its eighth year and the 37-year-old is still getting her head around its success.

“It feels crazy; I can’t believe we’ve been doing it for that long! I feel like we definitely started something – it’s a trend, which is really interesting,” she told The Outnet.

“People are looking at Africa and that’s really cool – that was kind of the point. All these people who are doing arts and crafts-y things are now looking at this and going, ‘Ohhh, interesting.’ It’s empowered and given ideas to a lot of small brands in Africa, and that was the whole point in a way, so it’s really nice.”

Lemlem started relatively small, with Liya planning it as a line for children. But then the kids’ mothers became passionate about the label and it expanded into womenswear.

And the runway star, who has two children herself, can see big things in the brand’s future.

“I think it’s a lifestyle brand and we’d like to see it in every category and really become a staple,” she concluded.

“We are definitely looking into growing it and adding more categories, and playing around with non-handmade things, too, which is kind of a new direction for us. We’re exploring other cities in Africa to make things, which is really exciting, growing on that level. It’s exciting but pioneering a little bit, too, which is always fun.”

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