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

But Charaf’s rise in the Parisian fashion scene is also exceptional because of who Charaf is and where he is from. As one of the few people of colour working at the very top 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 in these elite spaces. This only makes him want to work harder to break down barriers and become a role model.

On 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 aspiration and opening doors for people who want to break into fashion.

Key Insights:

  • Growing up in the outskirts of Paris, Tajer had an early appreciation for luxury, getting glimpses of wealth going with his mother to work as a cleaner in the 16th arrondissement. He channelled this sense of curiosity into the core of Casablanca and believes it lies in the industry itself. “I think this is what fashion does, is like it opens a certain option of dreaming of certain things,” says Tajer.
  • Tajer believes you must go outside of your comfort zone and explore new paths to achieve success. “There is 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 space for me to grow.”
  • Tajer’s background has at times led him to feel like a fashion outsider. That feeling inspired him to want to become a role model for others. “Beside the fact that I’m a North African Muslim guy, I also just want to represent the new face of France,” says Tajer. “It’s my duty to also accomplish the biggest thing in the world, to become an example.”
  • While entering the world of fashion, Tajer is careful to open doors for others and leave behind a legacy that any achievement is possible with effort. “For me I only want to go for the impossible possibilities,” Tajer says.

Additional Resources:

  • Fashion’s Top M&A Targets: The market may be cooling, but a number of in-demand brands remain of interest to financial backers. BoF identifies the top targets.
  • Can Fashion Start-Ups Cash In on the Tennis Boom? For a new wave of tennis-inflected fashion start-ups, 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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