Q&A | Charaf Tajer of Casablanca
Charaf Tajer is the founder of French Moroccan brand, Casablanca — an allegory of old-world elegance. Previously tied with the Parisian street-couture label, Pigalle, and discothèque, Le Pompon, his anticipated dream of the Casablanca brand became reality in 2018.
Dreaming of a jet setting gentleman, Tajer now paints a vision of divine luxury in notes of silk, terry cloth, and cashmere. Cultivating a cultural experience, Tajer has fashioned a community to redefine opulence. Flaunt spoke with Charaf to discuss his love story betwixt Casablanca and Paris.
After years with Pigalle and Le Pompon, how did you decide to start Casablanca?
Casablanca was always something I dreamed of creating as it’s inspired by my beginnings and evolves through my journey, but I wanted to wait until the right time to start the brand. Through my experiences at Pigalle and Le Pompom, I learned a lot about how to create a brand, the fashion business, and how cultural experiences can build a community. It all crystalized early last year as I knew at that point how I was going to bring the vision to life.
Your parents met while working in a Casablanca clothing atelier. Does the inception of your brand feel like a “full circle” moment?
A little bit, many pieces from the collection reflect the love story between Casablanca and Paris. My parents’ love story is included in the general celebration of love and beauty that emerges from these two locations. It’s a narrative that has inspired me in the memories I take from Casablanca and how they are then framed by my upbringing in Paris. It’s not a full circle moment as it’s part of an ever-evolving part of the DNA of the brand, and I think I will continue building the story throughout the collections.
How do your personal ties with Morocco blend with the Parisian menswear line?
I use a lot of my own experiences, visions, and memories of what Morocco feels like throughout many of the illustrations in my childhood. But, also memories of traveling and different aspects of life also shape your vision as well. I get inspired a lot by Brazilian music as it’s been a soundtrack for many moments in my life.
What color palettes, fabrics, and motifs represent the Casablanca ‘vacation’ aesthetic?
The aesthetic is inspired by my vision of luxury travel, which is comfort, different rich textures like the silk and terry cloth, warmth, and contentment blended with a fresh feeling. I try to identify this with pastel colors expressed on comfort and luxe fabrics – terry cloth, cashmere, knitwear. Motifs appear throughout the silk shirts with planes, flags, orange’s, water, sunsets, sports. These all help paint the picture of my vision of a gentleman that is traveling the world.
What’s your affinity with old-world elegance?
Growing up in Paris and being exposed to so much history, art, fashion, and tradition, it automatically gives you an affinity for the “old-world elegance.” I think it’s hard to match the feeling of taste, elegance, and luxury you get having an iced tea at the Ritz in Paris. The identity of the hotel will always no matter how much the world changes, remain the same. The old-world elegance creators believed in quality and had standards that they didn’t compromise. I would love Casablanca to be one of those brands.
How do you hope to redefine notions of opulence?
I certainly have my own view on what luxury is. I believe it’s the task of making the best version of your idea — a fashion story of your vision in the best way possible. I hope we achieve that. I also think it’s important for Casablanca and our community to have a way to enjoy a lifestyle that isn’t limited, it’s one that’s positive and empowering, that makes you dream.
Describe the concept of Casablanca’s uniform, the sport tracksuit.
The apres sport tracksuit, made from terry cloth and produced in Casablanca, is for the relaxation after sports. In our SS19 universe, after tennis. After a long match, you recline in comfort at the terrace for a refreshment. It is also a great travel piece when you are taking a long flight but still want to be elegant and colorfully fresh for your arrival at your next destination!
The SS20 show and cocktail party in June is very soon, and very exciting. I can’t wait to show everyone the new collection. It’s a definite progression from AW19 and a very clear demonstration of the width of the brand. We will be introducing new fabrics, new colorways and new pieces that will suit many more events and occasions with the AW19 pieces. Also, we will be launching our new webstore the day of the show with some exclusive product which we are delighted about as you will be able to purchase those items right away.
We will be releasing a few new exclusive capsule collections with some international retailers during the fall, which we will be announcing with events and some parties to come. Generally, there will be a lot more innovation in the coming months, and expansion.