Under the Radar is Highsnobiety’s weekly celebration of upcoming talent. Each week, we’re spotlighting an underground brand that’s bringing something new to the worlds of streetwear and fashion.
Binaries of formal and casualwear have thankfully collapsed with the infusion of streetwear into the luxury menswear market. Just 10 years ago the idea of wearing sneakers with a suit would most likely have been met with reprehension and confusion. Now it’s a code of contemporary luxury and the idea of being “suited and booted” has expanded dramatically.
Such new menswear horizons have given rise to Casablanca™, a new brand from Paris that’s implementing consumer interest in sportswear into its upmarket designs. Its first drop — super soft terry cloth tracksuits and screen-printed silk shirts — navigates a space Casablanca™ designer Charaf Tajer calls “après-sport.” That is, a kind of style that matches the ease and comfort of athleticwear with the elegance and quality fabrics of high fashion.
As Tajer reminds us, “At the end of the day, a tracksuit is really a suit.” And he’s right. And as his courtside lookbook demonstrates, more than anything, it’s about how you wear it.
Tajer informs Highsnobiety that two things inspired Casablanca™’s first offering.
The first is old Italian dudes, who, as everyone knows, have got the sauce when it comes to laid-back style. “It’s the way the guys in the street and the way the old men have been wearing it. There was something common and elegant in it that I really liked,” Tajer explains.
It’s not just steezy Italian gentleman, though. Tajer spends a lot of time in hotels, and the strange disconnect from reality you experience in a hotel has informed his designs — a sense of order, the outdoor leisure activities, the clean towels in the bathrooms. “I mean, terry cloth is definitely a fabric that I always love to use,” he says. “I’ve always loved bathtubs, literally living half my time in hotels.”
Starting a label in 2018 offers advantages that older, more established brands might not think to use. Fashion shows, for example, aren’t really on the agenda for Casablanca™ right now, as Tajer prefers to use the internet to present his product directly to the customer.
Casablanca™’s inaugural collection includes tracksuits in mint green, light pink, forest green, and burnt orange, with the logo on the left thigh in contrasted white stitching. Two silk shirts, best worn open à la European style, or at least unbuttoned liberally, come in a black/white polka dot pattern and a screen-printed green/gold/blue pattern that comes from Tajer’s work with various painters from Paris. With Tajer’s interest in mixing casual and formal styles, the loose-fitting blazers square off a bit at the shoulder and the suit pants mirror the casual details applied the to the tracksuit range.
As a totally new brand, Casablanca™ is currently preparing for its first appearances at major retailers in Europe, the U.S., and Japan. Stay tuned for more info about how to cop. In the meantime, check out Casablanca™ on Instagram and get ready for Tajer’s brand to blow up.