The BoF Podcast | Casablanca’s Charaf Tajer on designing for impossible possibilities

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French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer is the French-Moroccan designer behind Casablanca, a business that started with just €3,000 to tap into growing demand for women’s resort wear and which now has more than €45 million in annual revenue.

But Charaf’s rise to the Paris fashion scene is also remarkable because of who Charaf is and where he comes from. As one of the few people of color working at the very high level of French luxury fashion, he has learned that no matter how high his star rises, he still faces discrimination related to his identity as he travels through these elite spaces. This only makes him want to work harder to break barriers and become a role model.

In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, designer Tajer joins BoF’s Imran Amed on The BoF Podcast to talk about building his own business, the power of ambition and opening doors for people who want to get into fashion.

Basic information:

  • Growing up on the outskirts of Paris, Tajer had an early appreciation for luxury, catching fleeting flashes of wealth by going with his mother to work as a cleaner in the 16th arrondissement. He channeled that sense of curiosity at the core of Casablanca and believes it is in the industry itself. “I think that’s what fashion does, it’s like it opens up a certain option to dream about certain things,” says Tajer.
  • Tajer believes you have to step outside your comfort zone and explore new paths to succeed. “There’s nothing for you in the past, so you have to go to the future because when you look back, there’s nothing for you… There was no room for me to grow.”
  • Tajer’s background has made him feel like a fashion outsider at times. This feeling inspired him to want to be a role model for others. “Besides the fact that I’m a Muslim from North Africa, I just want to represent the new face of France,” says Tajer. “It is my duty to also accomplish the greatest thing in the world, to be an example.”
  • As he enters the world of fashion, Tajer makes sure to open doors for others and leave behind a legacy that every achievement is possible with effort. “For me, I just want to go for the impossible,” says Tajer.

Additional resources:

  • The top fashion M&A targets: The market may be cooling, but a number of in-demand brands are still of interest to financial backers. The BoF identifies the top targets.
  • Can fashion start-ups cash in on the tennis boom? For a new wave of tennis-influenced fashion startups, success may depend on balancing the energy of the sport’s increasingly inclusive present with the allure of its exclusive past.

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