Booths, beats and miners' fashion—urban lifestyle made in the Ruhr area #2

The catwalk conquerer

The Ruhr area boasts the greatest diversity of people in a small space in all of Germany. They make the region what it is: vibrant, versatile, and always in motion. In our series, we introduce four of them to you.

The Freiraum store in Gladbeck is bustling with people. People are trying on outfits, others are powdering their faces, and still others are ensuring the proper lighting for the models. In the middle of it all is Marcel Dzossou. The curly-haired young man is the face of Grubenhelden, featuring the miners' fashion in catalogs and on catwalks—most recently during New York Fashion Week. Studying communications and media management, he also supports the start-up wherever he may be needed. "Fashion has been part of my entire life. I have modeled for various labels, worked in a fashion agency, and even met my girlfriend during a casting," the 25-year-old recounts.

Enjoying urban life

Marcel is the only member of Grubenhelden who has no family in the Ruhr area. Still, he identifies with the company's fashion. "Even as a little boy, I took many trips to Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord or to the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex. Additionally, I like the region a lot. It's super fast to get from one cool city to the next. You can enjoy urban life, but also disappear in a certain degree of anonymity, if that's what you want. The people are honest and straightforward."

Fashion and soccer

Marcel too is straightforward. He openly talks about his past, where not everything went as planned: hanging out with the wrong friends and a "can't-be-bothered-with-school" attitude quickly relegated him to lower secondary school. Still, it wasn't fashion that steered him back on the right track, but sports. "In an athletics club I learned that you have to work hard if you want to accomplish something." Marcel has since graduated from preparatory school with a major in sports and completed an apprenticeship and works as an athletics coach for the U17 women's soccer team of Borussia Mönchengladbach. He has already set his sights on the next goal: "Some day I want to coach a Bundesliga team. For the time being, though, I will focus on my studies and Grubenhelden."

Part 1 of our story series can be found here

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