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Liya Kebede’s homeland, Ethiopia, is at the heart of lemlem.

It is here that local expertise in cotton handweaving techniques makes 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 down generations, with intricate patterns often telling stories of social and political significance.

Traditional clothing is handwoven using white cotton with a finely decorative ‘tibeb’ border – which means embellishment in the Ethiopian language of Amharic. It is this tibeb pattern that is a component of many lemlem looks.