Inspired by “paradox, controversy, justice and pushing the envelope,” the popularity of designer Melody Ehsani’s work continues to grow. Armed with a lifelong desire to create—something she terms her “divine blueprint”—Ehsani has expanded her brand from simple jewelry to a signature product line to most recently, becoming Reebok Classics’ preeminent female force.
Known for her "girl power" company ethos, it's important to note a portion from each M.E.-crafted item purchased goes towards the advancement and education of women in our society. Running an online store (where new releases sell out in minutes) plus a flagship on Los Angeles shopping strip Fairfax Avenue while flying back and forth to the east coast for her Reebok duties, Ehsani's schedule is jam-packed. We managed to fit in a brief yet motivating chat about reinvigorating the Reebok Classics brand, her major influences, how she overcomes inevitable challenges and more.
We kicked off Reebok Classics' re-launch of their women's program together in 2012. After our initial sneaker release, you continued to produce a stunning range of not just footwear but apparel for the brand. How has the whole experience been for you?
“The experience has been incredible. I’ve learned a lot along the way and have had a lot of fun while doing it.”
You first became known for your jewelry and have expanded your creative offerings into accessories, phone cases, candles, bags, nail wraps—even Swiss Army knives! How do you make the decision as to which product category to move into next?
“It really just depends on what I’m into at the moment. At heart I’m a product designer, so I enjoy products that have a practical functionality to them and am always drawn to them.”
Ancient Egyptian and Middle Eastern motifs heavily influence your aesthetic. You have Persian roots yourself. What is it about the art and culture you love so much?
“I really love understanding the human condition and how it’s expressed through art across time and filtered through culture. It’s just what I’ve always been curious about, and I can never learn enough of.”
You've experienced great success and truly built a cult following. While we see the very obvious highs, there are always consequent lows. What challenges does an artist like you face that outsiders might not see (nor understand)?
“There are so many. It’s quite hard to run a business, manage a retail staff and have employees. I don't have family members that know anything about what I’m doing, so I'm very much alone in trying to figure things out as they come at me. It can be quite daunting at times. As an artist it’s very difficult as well, because I’m constantly battling myself. Everything I do in my personal life affects my art. It’s hard to be vulnerable at times in a public way. Other times it’s hard to just show up. There is also this battle with your ego, not feeling like you're good enough, etc.”
You say you came to the realization that design is part of your "divine blueprint." How would someone discover that for himself or herself?
“I’m not sure if I can answer for everyone, but I stopped looking outside of myself for answers and finally learned how to go in. It sounds cliché, but everything you ever need to know in this life is already in you. It’s just about figuring out your ‘walk’ and how you can uncover it. I practice a lot of prayer and meditation.”