Women’s empowerment and sustainability were the key topics at a seminar titled, “Women Are Good for Business” at the Fashion Culture Design “UnConference” held at the New School University Center.
Liya Kebede, founder of Lemlem, the Ethiopian hand-woven women’s and children’s clothing and cotton scarves company; Mary Alice Stephenson, founder and president of Glam4Good, a women and girls’ empowerment platform, and Marlo Tablante, sustainability manager of H&M in the U.S., shared their views on a panel that was moderated by Hitha Herzog on Friday.
Mary Alice Stephenson, Marlo Tablante, Hitha Herzog and Liya Kebede.
Kebede, who is also a model and activist, said the reason Lemlem was created was to find a solution to a problem in Ethiopia. Historically, people there wore handmade clothes, but with Westernization, they started wearing more T-shirts and jeans made elsewhere. “The weavers were jobless,” she said.
Kebede visited this area, where hundreds of weavers were trying to sell their product, but they didn’t have a market any longer. “The idea was we should be helping and promoting these artisans. Helping sustain people and giving them a place where they can blossom,” she said.
As a result, she opened the market for Ethiopian weavers to sell their wares to a larger market