Liya Kebede

After a rocky few weeks, H&M today revealed its newest collaborator: Liya Kebede.

Next month the Sweden-based retailer will unveil a collaboration with Lemlem by Liya Kebede. The assortment of kaftans, sundresses, jewelry and other sundries will debut May 6.

Hennes & Mauritz has been in the news after seeing sales slide by 21 percent in the first quarter and being removed from all major Chinese platforms, due to the Xinjiang cotton ban. H&M also may shed more than 1,000 jobs in Spain.

On a brighter note as part of the tie-up with Kebede, H&M will be donating $100,000 to the Lemlem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the African-made fashion brand that she started in 2006. Her idea to start a company was sparked during a trip to her homeland of Ethiopia. After meeting a group of female traditional weavers, who no longer had a market for their specialty, Kebede decided to create a brand that would use their craft skills.

Lemlem means to bloom and flourish in the Ethiopian language of Amharic. The company is committed to preserving traditional weaving, championing artisanship and expanding production and creating jobs in Africa. The Lemlem Foundation was created to support impoverished women artisans in Africa with programs that offer job opportunities, health care and responsible production. Through partnerships with social enterprises, the foundation supports training for female artisans in Ethiopia and Kenya to strengthen their skills and prepare for jobs in the textile and fashion industry in Africa.

The upcoming collaboration is in line with H&M’s efforts to play up sustainability. The relaxed styles are made of organic linen, recycled polyester and Tencel Lyocell. The collection will carry the Lemlem x H&M label and it will be offered for one season in select stores and online. Swimwear will also be in the mix, along with a pair of pants, shirt, short-sleeved dress and bags among other items.

Kebede recently participated in a creative collaboration between Vogue and Off-White. The model was art directed by Vogue Italia and photographed by a team that had never worked together.

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