According to British Vogue, supermodel and African activist Liya Kebede met Christina Martini of Ancient Greek Sandals, it was more than just a meeting of minds – it was a sartorial mutual appreciation society. And that’s exactly what it was: this coming summer’s most striking, and meaningful collaboration.
The resulting capsule collection of sandals became available this week on Lemlem.com and through such retail partners as Net-a-porter.com and Revolve.com. Prices range from $275 for crisscross slides to $460 for intricate roped and tasseled styles. Nonleather materials and notions are sourced from Kebede’s network of artisans in her native Ethiopia, as well as from Kenya, Rwanda and Madagascar, while footwear is produced on the Greek island of Corfu using traditional techniques.
“We met for the first time last summer, through a mutual friend. Liya was coming to Greece, and we met on the island of Paxos, which is close to where I live in Corfu,” Martini explained. “I’ve always been a big fan of Lemlem, and that day, I was actually wearing a Lemlem shirt and shorts and Liya happened to be wearing Ancient Greek Sandals too – so it was a very genuine connection! We spent the day together, talking about all sorts of things and then got down to the business of discussing a collaboration later that afternoon. I had brought some sandals with me, which we tried on together with Liya’s thread bracelets, made in Kenya.”
“For lots of the sandals, we used the Lemlem hand-woven fabrics from Ethiopia,” Kebede explained. “We also incorporated hand-thread-wrapped ropes made by Maasai women in Kenya; my personal favorite. Lastly, we created a suede ruffle group. We often incorporate ruffles into the Lemlem collection and I love suede.”