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Why Mike Shouhed's T-Shirt Line Makes "Every Persian Mom Squirm"
Plus: what his shoes have in common with luxury cars.
Shahs of Sunset star Mike Shouhed's men’s footwear, recently seen on the show, is now ready for the streets. The tumbled leather and suede shoes are available on his True Gold website alongside his t-shirt line, which sports cheeky, Persian-positive slogans that pay tribute to his fellow cast members. You may have noticed Mike sporting his creations on Shahs, including the infamous "Doodool Tallah" shirt—but more on that in a minute. In the meantime, Shouhed was proud to dish on his shoe collection when we recently caught up with him by phone.
His kicks are manufactured in León, Mexico, which “is the leather capital of the world,” he explains. “So, all of the premium leather in the luxury automobiles that we drive in the States, like Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, the leather comes from León. We are able to get premium products that are hand-crafted by people of León. They create such an amazing product and I get to keep the price point [fair] so that it’s not all the rich guys who get to have all the fun.”
Being fortunate enough to ride in vehicles of this caliber definitely gave Mike ideas about premium leather: “Why not bring the same quality of leather in this very high-end luxury car that costs more than some people’s homes to create a shoe that has the same type of qualities?”
In so doing, he has found a void in the marketplace for a durable product at a price point where plastics often come into play. Cheap plastic shoes end up costing more in the long run when you have to throw them out sooner than leather ones, after all.
“Some of us have been blessed to be able to afford the $500, $600, $1000 or $1500 shoe,” he admits. “I’m bringing the same quality shoe at a price point of anywhere from $100 to $200 bucks and not discounting quality or design. I think I’m one of the only games in town that bring the worlds of luxury and affordability together. [I've] bypassed a distribution system to bring them directly to the consumer on my website, which allows me to have the price points I do.” He calls the venture overall “an effort of love,” something for fun and creativity.
Shouhed wanted his footwear to stay comfortable and adaptable from day to night, but also provide a pop of color that's different from the norm.
“I wanted to design a shoe that not only looks good, but feels good,” he says. “They’re very versatile, you can wear them at night with a blazer and button-up or you can wear them to work with a t-shirt and jeans. Our whole idea was to bring vibrant, loud colors and shake things up a little bit. The hot pinks and the purples and the greys and the leather and suede slip-ons with the tassels, this hasn’t been done. I’m putting a new twist on an older design.”
As for his True Gold t-shirt line, he’s gotten a lot of positive feedback on ones that celebrate his fellow cast members. One, for example, says, “Praise Asa” while another — a hot seller! — proclaims, “Reza is My Homeboy.”
But the one he’s spotted out on men of all persuasions roaming in the wilds of Los Angeles most has a yellow rooster on it with the words “Doodool Tallah” — Farsi, Shouhed explains, for “golden c*ck.”
“That’s the shirt that makes every Persian mom squirm,” he says proudly. “I think that’s hilarious! Sometimes I forget that I’m 37—going to be 38 in October—and I still kinda sag my pants, I wear jeans and t-shirts to work, I hate getting suited up. . . it’s that youthful mentality, like you don’t have to grow up. Have fun, wear a shirt that excites people.
“A guy who wears a ‘Doodool Tallah’ shirt is that guy who exudes confidence,” he advises. “It says, yes, I am golden, I am the man, and it sparks conversation. I mean, in today’s world, we are depending on Bumble and Tinder and Instagram direct message to meet people. What happened to the days of walking into, like, Starbucks and meeting a cool chick, meeting a cool guy just by sparking a conversation and really seeing each other, vibing with each other?”
The shirt sometimes excites people more than the fact that they’re talking to a reality star. In fact, sometimes people don’t even know that they’re talking to a reality star when they approach him about it.
“When I wear my ‘Doodool Tallah’ shirt, it’s crazy! People are like, ‘What does it mean?’ I talk to more people about the t-shirt over the fact that I’m on television whenever I wear it! If I’m at the gym, people will stop me. ‘Dude, I love your shirt,’ ‘Oh my God, that’s so cool, my best friend’s Persian,’ ‘Oh, I dated a Persian girl,’ ‘Oh, I dated a Persian guy.’ It’s wild! It trips me out, I’ll say, ‘Yeah, you can get it on my website.’ And people will say, ‘Is that what you do?’ And I’ll say, ‘No, I’m on television,’ and they’ll say, ‘Really?’ It’s kind of a douchey thing to say I’m [on TV] — so I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, forget it.’”
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