Charaf Tajer started his 2019 on a high note. January marked the first fashion show of the menswear brand he founded last year: a love child between the Creative Director’s Moroccan roots and Parisian upbringing.
Prior to venturing on his own, the Casablanca founder enjoyed a dress rehearsal as the co-founder of buzzed-about Parisian streetwear brand Pigalle. “Working on Pigalle felt like proper school – learning about technicalities, communications, and events. I was around 22/23 years old and pretty much had to learn everything along the way,” the Architecture graduate, now in his thirties, explains over the phone. He adds, “There’s a big difference between now and then, especially with regards to direct to consumer communication via social media. Back in the day, you had to reach out to media to talk to your audience. When you come from an era where the internet wasn’t so big, you really understand how lucky you are being able to speak to your audience directly, as a friend.”
For the Creative Director – who spends his time between Paris, Morocco, and London – Casablanca symbolizes a next chapter not just within a professional context, but more so on a personal level. Once a key figure in Paris nightlife, as the co-founder of nightclub Le Pompon, Tajer says he didn’t feel like “trying to be the oldest man in the club anymore.” After all, streetwear is for boys, and hand-painted silks, relaxed suiting, and après-sport tracksuits, are for grownups.
The type of grownups the Casablanca founder aims to target through his self-financed brand, are part of what he refers to as a tribe. “The images we post on our social media channels, with their accompanying art direction, attract a certain group of people with an interest in art and fashion. This is how we build our audience.” Said images exude opulence, a teaspoon of kitsch, an uncontrived sense of cool, infused with nods to Moroccan culture.
“The images seen on our Instagram page are all shot on film, but we implement them in a contemporary space – the internet. The brand aesthetic revolves around using classical architecture in a contemporary context. In our fashion show casting, we’re all about representing what the new face of Paris looks like. And when it comes to our silk fabrics, we work with one of the oldest factories for French silks, which also supplies to Hermès,” Tajer comments, about the brand which apparel is produced between Paris and Casablanca.
So far so good, as the brand – currently stocked by Maxfield Los Angeles, United Arrows in Japan, and Browns in London – has been well-received by fashion critics and buyers since its spring/summer 2019 debut last year. E-commerce-wise Casablanca retails pieces from that first collection through an in-house platform, while Ssense.com stocks the brand’s full product range. Come June, women’s pieces shall be added to that range, per the Casablanca founder. “E-commerce is new to me. It’s this new thing that I’m still exploring, as I cannot compare it with how things were back in the day. I’m aware of its endless possibilities, especially considering we’re amongst the newer brands that were pretty much shaped for, and by, the internet.”