Have you heard of Lemlem? How about Liya Kebede?
Lemlem is a wonderful line of gauzy, easy-breezy clothing and accessories, and it is the brain child of supermodel-turned actress-turned designer (and also Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization), Liya Kebede. She founded the line in 2007 as a way to provide traditional weavers in her native country of Ethiopia with a means to escape poverty.
I have to say I'm usually highly suspect of models-turned actresses-turned designers-turned home interior decorators-turned whatevers - and not without good reason. A lot of of the time these people are selling their name as an alternate way to make more money (and there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself), but many have very little to do with the actual product that is turned out - or the process it undergoes to get to the consumer. However this is not the case with Lemlem or Liya at all - and who doesn't want to get behind a woman who is trying to make a difference in the world? The word Lemlem means "to bloom or flourish":
And I suspect that this is exactly what is occurring for weavers in Ethiopia who are partaking in the construction of these delightful items.
Just prior to Memorial Day I did a post on beach cover-ups. Prior to doing the post I had been eyeballing a particular Lemlem tunic for weeks in a favorite haunt of mine, so decided to include an alternate dress style in the post. At the time I was unaware of the history behind the line and more concerned about the price tag on the garment because it was by no means inexpensive. But after learning a little more about the people my purchase would go to support I jumped off my wallet and got the Tiru Open Weave Tunic and honeys I have not regretted it once.
image via J.Crew
Examine it. The one at J.Crew is identical to the one I bought except mine's not on backorder until August 24th - instead it's resting comfortably in my closet. In the past couple weeks it has gotten a lot of good use and I'm very happy with it because it can be worn for much more than just beach attire.
Think: lounging around your house on a Saturday afternoon wearing denim shorts and a tank. It's a little breezy, but you'd like to sit outside and read a magazine. What's a girl to do? Throw on the Tiru Tunic and relax away.
Maybe it's a super gusty day at the beach. The sun's shining brightly, but you fear a sandstorm might come up and catch you off guard. No problem. Tiru's got it covered.
Seriously. We damn near blew away this day, but it was still rad.
Perhaps you've endured a rather balmy yet somewhat muggy afternoon. You're going to meet your girlfriends for a cocktail, but don't feel like wearing a dress (sticky legs = no can do) and jeans will be too warm. Why not try the Tiru over a light cami and a pair of cropped leggings completing your look with a cute heel?
(Yes the Swedish Hasbeens are on maximum overdrive over here. If you own a pair you know why.)
Worked charmingly for me. And this is only one of several options that Lemlem has to offer for Spring and Summer. You can check them out here, here and here for lots of different styles - there are also plenty of adorable pieces for children. But if you are interested I would recommend acting fast - these pieces are handcrafted and appear to be selling out quickly.
Outfit details: Nicole Miller sunglasses, GAP tank, Lemlem Tiru tunic, Splendid crop leggings, Swedish Hasbeens super-high peep toe, Rebecca Minkoff studded rocker