Interview with Eric Obré of Masters of Casual

(Photo: Mathias Fennetaux)

Q1: Hi Eric, tell us a bit of your background and what do you do?

I grew up skateboarding in Paris and managed a skate shop called Street Machine which was founded by Tobia Sloth (also the man behind Norse Projects) which eventually led me to move to California, and we ended up having 3 locations at some point (Paris, San Diego and Copenhagen), I was always into sneakers and got the opportunity to learn about designing shoes and manufacturing them. I then left the shop life to start managing design and merchandising groups for various action sports brand like Etnies, éS, Emerica, DC shoes, Creative Recreation and later moved to the bag category with Incase Designs until they got acquired.  I now run and develop my own label with my wife.

(Photo: Mathias Fennetaux)

Q2: What inspired you to create Masters of Casual?

Masters of Casual was born while living in California from the idea of creating a product that was equally at ease at a cocktail party or lounging at home, I liked the idea of blending chic and elegant with laid back and relaxedThe design influence came from blurring the lines of traditional with exotic while maintaining a not so serious attitude. Think California cool meets French Chic.


(Photo: Mathias Fennetaux)

Q3: How long did it take to create the brand?

I have been sitting on the design for a few years just waiting for the right time to develop it. For this project I wanted to explore manufacturing in Europe, because I had this vision of a high quality handmade product with exceptional leathers to create a high-end super comfortable shoe. So it took some time to find the right factory that understood my ideas and standards but who was also keen to partner up with a startup. It basically took one year and many trips to develop the relationship and finalize the product.

(Photo: Mathias Fennetaux)

Q4: We love your SS17 Lookbook, where did you shoot it?

For our first lookbook we wanted to find a house that would set the landscape of the brand mood, something that could tell and elevate the seasonal brand story. We wanted a place with modern minimalist architecture lines but was also approachable and warm. So we found this house very close by to where I currently live in the south of France, we loved that it was nestled into a canyon with this beautiful view and could have been found in the hills of Malibu or the French Riviera.

My old friend Mathias Fennetaux shot it and much of the credit should go to him as he did a spectacular job showcasing the product within this gorgeous environment. 

(Photo: Mathias Fennetaux)

Q5: What is casual to you?

For me the notion of casual goes hand in hand with effortless and stylish. Casual for me should reflect a natural timeless elegance.

Q6: What is your current go-to pair?  

The Golden State Domingo is my favorite of the season, the warm yellow brings back memories of my dad wearing traditional Moroccan babouches while weaving a carpet in our living room, he was always very creative and bounced around between sculpting wood, painting silk and making carpets…