It’s likely you’ve seen Los Angeles-based Total Luxury Spa’s trippy designs plastered across t-shirts, hoodies, and even skateboards, but the brand’s design philosophy goes far beyond just making cool collections and is invested in real community change. “Each piece is meant to provoke critical thinking and bring audiences into imagined worlds,” say co-founders Daniel DeSure and Hassan Rahim. “We are guided by an ethos to always give more than take – by bettering the health of our community, we all rise up together.”
Founded in 2014, Total Luxury Spa originally began its life as a zine, working with local artists who weren’t seeing themselves represented in museums and galleries. “It started out of this idea of sharing work we believed in,” they add. Despite switching mediums, the message hasn’t changed. “We believe through TLS we can do our part to create a more level playing field when it comes to opportunity in our community, help uplift creative talent where we see it and challenge some of the sins of capitalism.”
Having previously collaborated with the likes of Kelsey Lu, the label has also worked on collections from which profits were channelled into various community initiatives, including The Umoja Centre – which fights gentrification through policy change and purchasing local land and businesses. More recently, Total Luxury Spa recently opened its first bricks and mortar store in Crenshaw.
How do you want to influence the future?
Total Luxury Spa: We both want to stay out of the way so the younger generation can influence the future, but we’re also hungry to create. I’m optimistic about creating a new mechanism for conversation and change through Total Luxury Spa. We want to bring meditation to local elementary schools, and make sure the younger generation here in the neighbourhood owns property and owns businesses. We want to create workshops locally that help teach skills like programming and design to a younger generation. And then we want those same people to go out in the world to teach others.
“We believe through TLS we can do our part to create a more level playing field when it comes to opportunity in our community” - Total Luxury Spa
Where do you eventually want to get to in your career?
Total Luxury Spa: We want the brand to keep growing – to become large enough to afford us larger opportunities to effect change while still focusing on the issues and art we care about. Can we keep growing and maintain the same integrity we’ve been striving for? If we keep growing and reach a larger audience then, in turn, we’ll have more opportunity and resources to bring it back home.
What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?
Total Luxury Spa: We would fund the meditation program we started at the local public elementary school here in the neighbourhood called Hillcrest Elementary. We did a two-month pilot program as a test last year and it was incredible to see how the kids grew from it. We would adhere to the curriculum we created that has already proven meaningful results. This money would directly fund the program for the next year by creating two classes per week. The program would be for both 3rd grade and 5th grade classes.
Profile portrait of Total Luxury Spa by Lukas Gansterer