WEST TO EAST: MELODY EHSANI
Her jewelry has been rocked by the likes of Erykah Badu, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys (just to name a few) and as the first woman to design a Reebok Pump, Melody Ehsani is a
multidimensional force in the world of design. A natural researcher with initial dreams of
becoming a lawyer - Melody Ehsani’s start in the world of design was far from traditional. Her passions for justice and uplifting her community still shine through her creations - her women's march collection and her dedication to creating spaces for authentic collaboration are just a couple examples that highlight this true essence of Melody Ehsani. Fashion may be her life and her namesake, but her work is only one expression of her passions. As a Los Angeles native with Iranian heritage, community has always been a big influence on Melody and continues to be a main focus of hers. She uses her surroundings as influence for her designs, taking inspiration from the women she admires to create practical, unique pieces.
There is no doubt in her skill as designer, but we wanted to dig beneath the surface and find out more about the woman behind the statement doorknockers and intricate leather patterns - together we discussed topics ranging from inspiration, industry responsibility, and community.
As a designer, Melody Ehsani is always on a quest for inspiration - the root of the creative process. Escaping her industrious home of Los Angeles into nature helps for her creative juices to flow. Frequent indulgences into different environments and cultures are a couple indicators of ME’s inner researcher at work. For her, it’s not always about discovering the new and what’s to come, but uncovering the inherent beauty of what is. The inspiration you find as a creator is just as important as those by which you are inspired; the people who push you to be the best you that you can be. Attracted to authenticity, Melody is most inspired “by anybody who really inhabits themselves[...]people who are in their purpose and it’s obvious by what they do.” As someone whose journey to being in her purpose took much time, effort, and reflection - finally choosing to listen to her true inner desires after years of following her family’s - her advice to her other young people on their journey would be, “[don’t] wait for anybody to validate you, just try to mirror yourself more versus wait for someone else to see you.” She encourages the youth to get inspired, stay inspired, and stay true to themselves.
Earning the “first woman to” title is no small feat and one that invokes much respect upon its holder. Since entering the world of firsts in the sneaker industry, she’s seen a significant shift in the shrink it and pink it ideology in regards to designs for women. Giving a lot of the credit to celebrity culture, especially icons like Rihanna with her Puma Creepers, Melody thinks that “sneaker companies are starting to catch wind that women are consumers of these shoes and that they need to cater to them in some sense.” The burden of accelerating this shift isn’t completely on the sneaker companies, it’s also on women to help push the needle: “I don’t think it’s something that’s ever going to be handed to [women], it’s gonna be something we’re gonna take so we need all of us. There needs to be more of us to step up and claim that for it to actually happen.” As a result of this movement and more women stepping forward, “sneaker companies will be heavily encouraged to invest more money into their women's programs.” The beginning of the shift is refreshing to see, but she calls on the future “firsts” and leaders, empowering them to step in and step up.
There is a strong, yet unequal, relationship between brands and the communities they look to for inspiration - one side gets to profit off of the uniqueness and lifestyle of the other. When discussing the ethical responsibility brands have to their communities, Melody agreed that “we [should] be able to hold brands up to ethical practices,” but the realistic implementation of such principles is debatable. The most important thing is for brands to be creative when applying service to their communities; “it’s not all about how much you donate or how many events you hold, it’s about the dedication to giving back in meaningful ways to your demographic.” Melody Ehsani brings her community’s influence into her passions for service and design by holding a speaker series every month to create community - something she believes is extremely important at this point in time. Bringing in people she admires and having them “give talks - open free talks- to people that otherwise wouldn’t have access to them” is her way of engaging with, giving back to, and uplifting her community.
Through her design works and mission to use fashion as a vehicle for service and change,
Melody maintains a true essence of herself and aims to continue to portray that through what her brand represents. She continually engages with and builds her community through her speaker series, hoping to inspire those around her to be leaders and changemakers and continue to empower future generations of “firsts”. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Melody Ehsani in NYC. Check out the store at 85 Kenmare St, SoHo NY and let us know what you think!
is a friend and data analyst for theGIRLMOB.