Hermen Leul | Tibeb Online | Ethiopian Fashion


I was born and raised in Nazareth followed by a brief education in Axum before moving to Addis for my bachelor’s and the debut of my career in the media industry.

I starred In Various movies, drama series, and music videos before focusing on social media monetization.

Today, my career in the fashion industry has allowed me to participate in various international platforms, from the education sector such as the Debrecen university campaign, to online fashion stores such as Lepiton.

Locally, I was featured on several consumer ads and influencer programs including Castel Winery, Procare Addis, and Ethiopian Express Shopping.

Amidst this global pandemic and a rapidly changing society with new promising reforms and radical ideological shifts, I have found that I am also growing emotionally. A growth now reflecting both in my personal and professional life.

For instance, I am learning the values that I am choosing to stand for as a woman and the questions I want to be answered in my generation. My latest engagement with Tibeb Online powered by the Goethe Institute focuses on bringing tangible solutions for growing boredom and domestic violence at home during COVID-19, through the concept of Art & Culture.

Tibeb Series

The first Tibeb series we did with Tibeb Online was themed ‘Le Jardin’ which means ‘the garden’. The concept revolves around the confection of an in-house scenery to nurture positive feelings, creativity, motivation, and happiness especially in times of crisis such as the global pandemic we are currently experiencing. The final part of ‘Le Jardin’ will be published on social media in early September.

I modeled a beautiful swimsuit with a gown whose pattern matched a mural made by Chef Yohanis.

The second theme was ‘Behind the Million masks’. The pictures where dual representations of myself with the sole purpose of showing women’s pain behind the curtains.

During COVID-19 we have witnessed the rise of domestic violence especially towards the weak; undoubtedly our women and children. This series aims to resonate with women and their personal experience towards abuse and how much of their current life it represents. As a woman, I feel our gender is more exposed to abuse than most people realize and Covid-19 is only making things worse. This project is a way to bring facts to light and a platform for women to raise questions themselves.


I do not have a specific source of inspiration but my daily routine in a way is a pivotal step to my creative process.

I wake up every morning at 6:30 am, work out with my fiancé at home (these days). Have breakfast at 7:30 in a small hole-in-the-wall by a hill in our neighborhood, while gazing at the beautiful sunrise hitting the heart of Addis. As soon as I’m back home, I make coffee and start looking through social media for a few minutes to update myself on what went on around the world the previous day, then start researching current trends, happenings, initiatives, and posts that are going viral.

Most of my day is dedicated to researching fashion around the globe and trying to contextualize the approaches I discover while at the same time, trying to push the local limits shaped by cultures and religions.

Creative Ethiopia 

The main challenges in Ethiopia as far as I am concerned are the limits imposed by religion and biased cultural perceptions in regards to appearance.

Ethiopia is home to the most diverse, rich, and some of the oldest traditions around the world. As the only country in Africa to avoid colonization and preserve all its culture, our nation has so many untapped assets. I firmly believe the key to understanding our unique values is through our History (via the various civilizations that came and went), through our Norms (via the numerous ethnic flows that traveled around the land) and the mixing of culture and people throughout time.

Being creative in Ethiopia can be challenging as many aspects of any given lifestyle are prone to societal judgment based on cultural and religious guidelines. In my world, it means being expected to dress a certain way to abide by the rules of the male gaze.

Hopes for the future

There are many things I wish to see changed in the future. Some I can mention are:

– Real equality between men and women in Africa
– To see a new generation of Ethiopians that believe global success can be made possible from the homeland
– To see society accept independent and empowered women

Arts and Social Conversations

I believe art is a means to an end and that it’s true purpose is to have its viewers consider the important questions. The role of an artist is to simplify and find the perfect perspective that engages audiences.

In that sense, social conversation and art are one and the same. Art allows us to question accepted realities and engage our audience in conversations that they relate to.

The difference between an artist and a layman is that the artist can find a perspective that most will overlook. Here is a simple example: if you were on a beach looking to relax, the artist would be the person with his/her gear looking for gold in the sand.

The layman choosing to engage or not is the difference between the person choosing to tan or to look around for more. The layman with interest in his/her surroundings may find something more than he/she planned. The other will stick to tanning whether satisfaction is achieved or not.

Art has changed shapes and interests over the years. During the XV century, Alberti believed art is an opening to the world, as houses had limited windows (for security) and lacked openings for nature. During the photography era of the XIX century, art shifted from recreating reality to shaping new forms and valuing emotions rather than symbolism.

Today art is challenged in understanding and shaping an ever-changing society. I am convinced its current challenge is social behaviors and the conversations/solutions it will lead to.


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