Portrait – Believe in yourself – Munich

When Moubarak Assima tells the story of his success, he refers to the biographies of others who have climbed up. Then he talks about Naruto, the outcast ninja boy, whose long and arduous path to the leader of his village is traced in great detail in the manga of the same name. Or from rappers like Sido, who made it from a Berlin suburb to the big stages and whom he, Moubarak, dressed stylishly for his music video “Wie Papa”. Moubarak, 25, tells these stories because they are, to a certain extent, his own. Because he feels inspired, motivated, and spurred on by them.

This is exactly what he wants to convey to young people: the feeling of being able to do it. To be able to realize your dreams, no matter where you come from or what circumstances. Moubarak, you could write it like that, did it. The young man from Munich is a stylist, blogger, author. He’s been earning his money with it for six months. “It was definitely a lot of work to get where I am today,” he says. “But I am also infinitely grateful for all of these experiences”.

Moubarak, tall, strong stature, black jogging suit with white stripes on the sleeves, the curly hair of his undercut hairstyle twisted into small dreadlocks, tells of his first steps into the world of fashion. At first glance, he doesn’t seem like the “fighter” he likes to see himself as. With his firm bass voice and his relaxed charisma, he almost creates the impression of someone who seems to succeed in everything.

Since completing a student internship in the fashion industry, it was clear that Moubarak Assima wanted to become a stylist. He says: “That was a decided deal. I knew I had to do it, no matter how.”

(Photo: Anne Schwarzelt)

Moubarak’s path was anything but natural. “I’m a kid on the street,” he says, “someone who has never been given anything and who had to work for everything himself.” Moubarak grew up in the north of Munich, his parents immigrated from Togo. After graduating from secondary school, he completed an apprenticeship as a salesman, while at the same time he worked in a clothing store in downtown Munich. Since that doesn’t satisfy him, Moubarak uses his days off for photo shoots. He puts himself or friends in the limelight and uploads the pictures to his blog. He works through the night and is constantly energized.

At that time he hadn’t written any texts. “I didn’t have the confidence of today,” says Moubarak, “but I was lucky to have the right people around me who kept pushing me to push my limits.” The blog moubsen.com has developed over the years into a versatile platform for fashion, music and the everyday world of young Afro-Germans, but not only. “I’m interested in everything that influences youth culture,” he says. Anime in particular play a very important role for him. “These are very important messages that are packed into it: never give up, always believe in yourself, go your own way. Straight to the top.”

Moubarak writes as he speaks, in loose, lively sentences that are naturally peppered with anglicisms. A subtle Bavarian touch can also be heard from time to time. “Munich has definitely shaped me,” he says. Even if the city often seems too rich, too complacent to him. So Moubarak builds up a network, makes contacts in all possible directions. And that pays off: Suddenly he receives inquiries for cooperation with “big player” brands, travels across Germany for styling jobs, becomes a freelance author for GQ-Magazin. His follower numbers on social media are skyrocketing. Then, last summer, Moubarak finally quit his job in the clothing business. “I now live the dream of being able to express myself creatively to the full,” he says with a smile.

It’s a dream he first had at the age of 14, inspired by dazzling music videos. For him, clothing was an expression of personality and individuality from an early age. Moubarak says: “I was always the colorful bird who looked different because of the way he was dressed.” Since his first internship in the fashion industry when he was at school, the course had been set for the Munich stylist. “That was a done deal. I knew I had to do it, no matter how.”

Despite all the challenges, despite the many struggles that Moubarak had to fight in the world of fashion, but also with himself, he has remained confident. An idealism seems to be driving him after all these years of fighting his way up. Moubarak brings a breath of fresh air to an almost fully academic discipline. If there is still such a thing as authenticity, then it can be found in the shoots and stylings of the young man from Munich. Many of his pictures are advertising, but still appear complex, multi-layered, tell their whole story only at second or third glance. Moubarak continues to prefer to work with people from his personal environment. Why? “Because then I can best assess people’s personalities and bring them out through the styling,” he says.

Moubarak is perhaps only at the beginning of a long vita. “I definitely have a lot more to do in the next few years,” he says. He is currently setting up his own agency, the Shadow Agency, in order to be able to network himself and other young talents even better. Both across Germany and internationally. And he would like to go out again, to carry out spontaneous shootings in the city. This is something he has lost a lot in the last few months of the lockdown. “In any case, I want to keep the right balance between creative and commercial jobs,” says Moubarak. “Otherwise you lose sight of yourself too quickly.”

In the long term, he would like to initiate further changes in the fashion industry. “I want to establish an awareness that people not only chase after the first hype, but also deal with the products. With the brands and their stories,” he says. And Moubarak wants to remain a role model for young people whom he wants to encourage to pursue their dreams. Just as he drank from his own role models. Perhaps he will make the fashion world even more colorful and diverse. On his blog he writes: “Now it is time for the fashion world to experience a change. It will only be done when young black people also have the chance to establish themselves in the fashion world.”

Janelle B. Smith

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