Interview with Sean McGinnis from Casey Casey
Let’s be honest, how often can one find a brand that follows the motto “We do what we like, we like what we do, we hope you like it too“? This is exactly the spirit of the menswear and womenswear label Casey Casey that is entirely produced in France.
Sean McGinnis does not only run the shop, he is not only the wholesale and communications manager, but also the face of the brand. On a rainy morning we met him to talk about Casey Casey’s philosophy and the brand’s first brick-and-mortar store in Paris’ seventh arrondissement.
How old is the brand Casey Casey?
McGinnis: Gareth Casey and Philippe Vidalenc started Casey Vidalenc in 1997. When Philippe left, the name changed to Casey Casey, because Gareth Casey was replacing Philippe with himself. We are in our ninth season now.
What is the brand’s motto?
McGinnis: We are very niche, we are not making clothes which try to sell to everybody. We almost haven’t done any publicity, because the press has come to us. Casey Casey is not fashion in the sense of runway show, pre-collection, fashion shoot… we are not in that machine. However, we cannot claim we are not fashion, because we are sold at for example Dover Street Market.
How would you define your target customer?
McGinnis: People who like us are filmmakers, architects or artists. People who understand well made objects and who want to be original and not wildly fashion. Agewise there is no basic client. Twenty-year-olds and eighty-year-olds buy Casey Casey. There is a simplicity, so that the person who wears it brings his or her personality to it. It does not define you, you can define it.
Is your concept an anti-concept to fast fashion?
McGinnis: We are not anti-fashion. Obviously we do not function the way everyone else does, but that is not by rejecting it. We do what we feel makes sense and not the way it should be done. Our pieces are in the moment of the zeitgeist, but it is not meant to be anything other than our direct reference to clothes that you like to wear. It is not chasing after something, it is not trying to be something else.
How can brands like Casey Casey survive in a fashion industry that increasingly speeds up?
McGinnis: There is a basic desire for more authentic, less fast, less pressure, and less hype. We have been growing between 20 and 60 percent per season for the last three years in a fashion market that is difficult. And there is something that we are doing which people want more of. Eventually, it is all about reciprocal relations.
You opened your first store in Paris last September. Besides huge windows and a minimalist white interior, the walls seem to have an unfinished look. What inspired the interior design?
McGinnis: We wanted to take the new plaster off the walls and see what was underneath before we made a decision. It was not like we came here and said: ’That will be marble and that will be gold’. We were more interactive and it was like a discovery. I myself tapped the walls to get the new plaster off and see the stone, because if you sand it you lose any subtlety. The longer I was in the shop, the more I liked being here. I feel at home here.
What concept do you follow when making decisions for the store?
McGinnis: Trust your guts. What do you feel needs to be done? Of course only if you have the freedom and time to do that. Opposite site: Not having enough time keeps you focussed. You do not have time to do something sloppy or complex. You only have time to do something simple, direct, and effective, but if you want to be concise, it also takes time. Simplicity takes time, but you have to know exactly what you are talking about and you have to have experience.
Make sure to visit this unique store when in Paris:
Casey Casey. 6 Rue de Solferino, 75007 Paris
Interview and photos by Vivien Gilow