Founded by designers and creative directors Daniel DeSure and Hassan Rahim in 2012, Total Luxury Spa is a brand beloved by LA streetwear aficionados. Counting singer Anderson .Paak, artist Arthur Jaffa and photographer Tyler Mitchell as fans, the brand has attracted a niche but cult following over the years. But it’s not only their printed tees that people love; it’s the brand’s DNA.
Although Total Luxury Spa might sound like a random combination of words, it perfectly embodies the boys’ altruist and inclusive philosophy, which champions wellness above all else.
In the West, gentrification has been on a rapid increase in most key cities, erasing the history and culture of (mostly black and brown) communities whose lives and futures are under threat. And in the current xenophobic political environment, struggling marginalised groups are also increasingly subject to overt racism and police discrimination.
What Rahim and DeSure have created is a brand that empowers marginalised people who are too often forgotten. This winter for example, they presented ‘Fiction Based Reality’, a collection comprised of graphic hoodies and tees featuring slogans like, “you are entering the spiritual zone, please turn off all radios and negative thoughts” and “move constantly in the path of virtue, without airing a single step”, with 50 per cent of the proceeds going to a local chef who had lost his restaurant. Total Luxury Spa is fun and beautiful but most importantly, it’s sincere.
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Outtake from our Fiction Based Reality collection. @iamkelseylu in Mr Wisdom. Restocked now in all sizes. 50% of proceeds go back to Mr Wisdom who recently lost his restaurant. Kelsey Lu performs tonight and tomorrow at The Masonic Lodge. Don’t miss it! 📷 @danielregan___
The duo behind the brand aren’t just supporting their own neighbourhoods; they want to create a sense of community on a global scale. “The same issues we’re facing here in Los Angeles are happening globally and our approach is to get these stories in front of people, and get them interested in issues that are effecting all of us. We’re celebrating the characters that make up the world we want to see”, says DeSure, discussing the inspiration behind their latest project entitled Alimentation Générale (‘corner shop’ in English).
Earlier this month during a workshop in Paris hosted by Kaleidoscope Magazine, which was attended by 3,000 people, the ‘Alimentation Générale’ t-shirts paid homage to the journey of Abdallah Kouche, a Moroccan man who left his home country in the 1960’s to settle in France and open his own grocery store that he now runs with his family.
Just like in LA, things aren’t rosy for everyone in Paris, particularly for immigrants like Kouche, who have no visibility in mainstream culture and the sphere of politics. “Seeing an LA brand interested in my story and family makes me really happy; it’s evidence that some people are curious about us and that it can lead to great projects”, says Moustafa Kouche, Abdallah’s son, who was introduced to Daniel following a shoot for Supreme’s Lacoste campaign that he starred in (and was shot in his family’s house and store). “It really felt good to hear my father open up about his experiences and how he worked hard to give us a good life. I find it very important to celebrate people like him, who despite what society might think, also have enriching stories to share”, he continues.
Always remaining true to their values, all proceeds of ‘Alimentation Générale’ are going back to the Kouche family. And while social responsibility has become a buzzword in fashion, unlike other brands, Total Luxury Spa isn’t doing it for the trend. They’re doing it with care and for the culture. As DeSure puts it, “this is the only way this world is going to work moving forward. We have to know each other and understand where it is we all come from”.