Only founded in 2018, Casablanca has become one of the most interesting brands to keep an eye on, as we’ve spotted some of its easily recognizable bold printed shirts on the likes of Lil Nas X, Sita Abellán, C. Tangana and Octavian, to name a few. His founder, Charaf Tajer, spent his childhood between Morocco and Paris, and is now bringing the two cultures into the menswear clothes he designs. With an approach focused on comfort and confidence, Tajer is making people fall head over heels for his clothes, and we speak with him to discover the keys behind his success.
Charaf, before we get to know your brand, we’d like to know more about you. How is a normal day in your life?
In the morning, I start by listening to Indian mantras. Then I go to the office and get straight to work on designing, on making patterns, choosing fabrics and working on the paintings of the prints. My day is a mix of that. In the night, I sometimes go out and see my friends, or other days I do research late at night, but I always try to finish the day on a happy note!
Could you describe your brand Casablanca in three words?
Elegant, comfortable and happy.
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 2.jpg
Having your Moroccan roots and Parisian upbringing in common with your brand, would you say nostalgia plays a big part in your creative process?
Yes, the brand incorporates memories of travels. Reflections, nostalgia and the concept of memories really shape the vision I have for the art that we make.
What’s your favourite childhood memory from your vacations in Morocco?
My favourite memory is walking down my grandmother’s street in Casablanca at sunset. The sun was beating off the terracotta buildings, the ladies of the town hanging colourful clothes on the rails outside their houses, and I saw my grandmother waiting at the doorstep, smiling at me as I approached. Just that simple memory makes me feel the beauty and innocence of childhood.
Your parents met while working in an atelier in Morocco, in Casablanca, so you could say you grew up around fashion. But when did you realize you wanted to dedicate yourself to it?
There were many artists and designers around me when I was growing up, so I knew that I would pursue a creative role since I was young. It really wasn’t an option for me to do anything else!
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 4.jpg
What have you learned from being involved in so many different fields (architecture, nightlife, fashion, etc.)?
I have learned that the principles of design, branding and art all rely on the same things: your passion and your belief in what you want to express. I want to create a more beautiful environment for people that are passionate about what I do, and that is recurrent through my endeavours.
Describe the Casablanca type of man, what would his backstory be?
Casablanca is the part of a man that every man has, I believe. Confident, strong and not afraid to be himself. He may be a young man, but he has the spirit of someone wise. He has taste and enjoys travelling. He likes the finer things in life but has perhaps had at one point to really fight for it.
How do you think comfort goes hand in hand with style?
I don’t think it goes hand in hand all the time, depends on who you ask I think. Women wouldn’t agree, I am sure! But with Casablanca, we try to create comfortable elegance.
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 5.jpg
The Casablanca style would fit right in with a lot of the most iconic ‘pimp’-like characters we see in movies. What movie character(s) would’ve worn your clothes?
I would have loved to have dressed Hassan II (Former King of Morocco) and Aristotle Onassis – men of the past that were effortlessly stylish. In the current era, I enjoy many people wearing the clothes, but I definitely would like to see Robert De Niro in one of our suits!
You’ve shared your love for hotel bathrobes, have you ever taken home one you really liked?
(Laughs) No, as I want to return to the hotels whose robes I like! I think my favourite has to be at the Ritz Paris.
You’ve said, “the brand aesthetic revolves around using classical architecture in a contemporary context”, would you say with Casablanca you’re bringing back the old-school classic and adapting it into today's fashion?
Yes, that’s definitely a big part of the influence on our original pieces. I think a good example of this is our new tailored trousers we debuted in Spring/Summer 2020. They have a slightly higher waist than the conventional tailored trouser. This reflects that the old-school trouser waist height, worn with just a shirt or suit, is very elegant.
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 6.jpg
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the prints for the Spring/Summer 2020’s collection?
I spent a lot of time in Brazil during the creation of Spring/Summer 2020 and used to spend a lot of time looking out into the ocean town where I stayed. I think that really provided a lot of the backdrop of the collection. The beauty of tropical nature.
I'm sure a lot of ladies would love to wear Casablanca, are you contemplating making womenswear?
Watch this space!
Since the debut collection in 2018, Casablanca has been around for just a couple of years. How do you envision your brand evolving in the near future?
I think I will continue to build on what the brand is expressing right now, diversifying some products, but I really believe in the long-term sustainability of the current Casablanca aesthetic. I am trying to make something timeless.
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 8.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 7.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 9.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 10.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 11.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 12.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 13.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 14.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 15.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 16.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 18.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 17.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 19.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 20.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 21.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 22.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 23.jpg
Casablancaparis Metalmagazine 24.jpg