“Listen to the school, get your education.”
These are the wise words of Desto Dubb, founder of one of the largest streetwear brands based out of Los Angeles with a shoe store currently on Melrose. The past five years have been flooded with his clothing line “That’s An Awful Lot of Cough Syrup.”
Despite the notorious reputation of cough syrup, the tagline of Desto’s clothes has no limitation. Referenced by Medium magazine as one of the successful leaders in the future of fashion, Desto, which stands for “Don’t Ever Stop Trying” is already a frequent school donor who envisions himself tailoring pieces from his brand to support education for younger audiences.
In addition to sponsoring clothes for school sports teams and donating the money from these sales back to schools, as a father himself, Dubb continues to raise the ceiling on what his brand could represent to his community and how it could continue to impact his city and beyond.
However, schools such as Beverly Vista Middle School have taken a more concerned approach
to the potential consequences of promoting his brand on campus.
An alert to parents was sent out, specifically in reference to students wearing “That’s an Awful Lot of Cough Syrup” in the BVMS new dress code trend notification. Kids on campus have been violating the dress code policy by supporting the brand due to the tagline and its implication of drug use and illegal activity.
In response to this, Dubb states;
“We’re going to make something that the kids can wear”
“Awful Lot of Education”
“Awful Lot of Books”
“Awful Lot of Homework”’
These are some examples of Desto’s famed ability to turn a negative into a positive. Desto’s encouragement of people not to judge a book by its cover is painted through his American dream-like story by using the tools he had access to in order to create success for himself.
Now, working with one of the biggest festival companies in the world, Rolling Loud, there is no telling how much further we will see this brand make an impact.
We had a chance to speak with Desto directly. Check out the Full interview below:
So Can you kind of just give a sound bite as to how you started the brand and what the brand was all about when you first started?
Yeah, so basically, when I started the brand, it all came from me being in a place where my parents, my family couldn’t afford the clothes that I like. We all watch these music videos, we all see these stars or the people we look to, they dress nice, and you want that. But a lot of times where I come from, you can’t afford it. As a kid, adult, nobody can afford it. So my whole brand started with just me creating pieces that I could wear without having to pay that top dollar. And as time went by, people would like the pieces and want to purchase them. That’s how I got into clothes, just making clothes that I could wear because I couldn’t afford the stuff that all everybody else was wearing. Then it got to a point where, like I said, everybody wanted to purchase the clothes, and I was just reworking a lot of things, like reworking a lot of things the same way that Virgil did or the same way that Kanye does. With that being said, I ran into a situation where I had ran into the police, and the police officer was jokingly saying..
Desto Dubb (02:22)
That’s an awful lot of cough, syrup. And that just being a negative thing. I turned it and took that negative thing and turned it into something positive and started branding my clothing line with that same phrase. And from there, it goes from, that’s an awful lot of costar. That’s an awful lot of dreams, that’s an awful lot of cookies. And how I see it is, like, I turned a negative to a positive, and I feel like a lot of kids can relate to that. And my biggest thing is I want the kids to know that you don’t have to be a rapper. You don’t have to be, play sports. You can actually take the same negative scenario that happened in your life and turn it into positive and be on a platform that somebody be somewhere you never thought you could be or do things that you never think you can do. And especially with the high school students, because a lot of these kids are idolizing the wrong people, right? They might have a shirt on or something that says that doesn’t say nothing provocative, but the image that that person.
I actually have something that you might view it as a negative, but the image that I’m putting out is not.
Close to it right at all. And that’s been something I can agree with you on, like turning things. We’ve spoken to you a couple of different times now, and it’s always positive vibes. I think for me, it’ll probably be better sweet. But for you, what’s your take? Or how do you personally feel about getting the backlash from a school, right? Not from any other spice a school saying, hey, we want to take this out. How do you feel about that person?
I don’t take it personal. I just really want this school, these people, to see what I’m actually doing. Don’t judge a book by cover, per se. They teach us that. They tell us that, but they’re the ones that’s judging a book by cover. But again, I don’t take it personal. I go through it with the police. I go through it when I go out of town. I go through it a lot. I’m a big two African American man with tattoos on my face. A lot of people judge a book by cover, but what I just want them to know is that’s not the narrative here. I’m not telling these kids to drink cough syrup. I’m not telling these kids to do this or to do that. I’m just using my brand to show these kids that you can be more than what you think.
You can be and you don’t have to go the route that you think you got to go to get there, right?
Absolutely. Do you have any words? I guess. What would you say to the kids that want to continue to support the brand and wear the clothes despite what the schools are saying?
First and foremost, listen to the school. Get your education. I’m not trying to have these kids out here going against the grain, getting expelled, getting in trouble. But better yet, let the teachers let the principal tell them about the story. Tell them how I inspired you to start something. Let’s try that. Don’t go in there. I’m going to still wear because this don’t do that. They say don’t wear it. Don’t wear it. But when they do see you and you do got it or they tell you don’t wear it, tell them why you’re wearing it. Right.
100%, man. Stand up guy. I guess my last question is what’s next for the brand? Obviously they’re going to keep throwing rocks at the throne. What’s next for the brand? What can we expect?
The brand, me, we’re just going to keep on inspiring. It’s not just a brand. It’s a story. It’s an American story from the gutter to butter. And I’m just going to keep adding chapters and chapters to it. Right now we’re working with one of the hugest festival companies in the United States, in the world, rolling Loud. We’re heading over there again. We killed it the first time we were to vote at the best booth at Rolling Loud, los Angeles. A little black kid that grew up in Los Angeles. Like the rest of them, the best booth I’m talking about mine is better than Levi’s. Mine is better than Death, water, multi million billion dollar brand. Little kid from the east side was killing all of that. So now we’re going to travel with them to Miami. Just promoting my shoe store on Melrose. Just really keep turning the culture up.