No More Next: How Melody Ehsani is Creating a Roadmap for Women to Build their Own Opportunities
It's not very often I have a fan girl moment, but when I got the opportunity to sit down with designer Melody Ehsani (ME), I was super hype! I’ve been a fan of hers ever since 2015, when she dropped her Reebok Ventilator “Python” sneaker, it was a must have for my collection. I still have it to this day! So as her brand grew in popularity, so did my love for her work. It's the messages for me! ME consistently reps for strong women, racial equality and self love and her collections have also mirrored the same messages.
Recently, ME accepted a position as Creative Director for Women’s Business, a position Foot Locker created with her in mind. Her first capsule collection is basketball-inspired, and to celebrate this collection, Foot Locker is hosting a “No More Next” festival. This virtual festival will not only allow attendees to win products and other goodies, but they will also be able to watch round table discussions around the collection, participate in an affirmation session and will feature trailblazers like Renee Montgomery and Don C.
Recently, I got the opportunity to sit down with ME to talk about her collection and of course your girl had to slide some other questions in there too!
We love that this new collection is size inclusive! Do you think that we may see an increase in plus sizing past a 2x?
Yes! I would love to! Just in the past few years FootLocker has started to cater to plus sizes more. It’s at the very beginning of that journey, but I think we are going to figure out how to size it more easily.
How important was it to make this collection gender neutral?
I went with my gut with what I would wear and what people around me would wear. I feel like generalizing clothing is so limiting to both men and women. Clothing is supposed to be a creative expression. Stylistically I don’t like to box anything in.
I think that it’s important to stop assuming that girls would like this, or boys would like this. I never want to create something that makes somebody feel confined to a role. You want to feel free about what you wear, and who you are.
Do you think we will see a sneaker with any of the future capsule collections?
I’m not sure yet. I would hope so!
We’ve seen more female collaborations, and overall more light being shown on women creators than we have in the past. What do you think about that? Do you think that we will see more women behind the scenes as creative directors, etc?
I really hope so. I think it will be difficult to change the current landscape. I do think we are going to see more women there but I think it will be like with basketball, we will see more women owning their own things and creating. I’m putting my thoughts and energy into ownership. Like if Renee Montgomery can own a basketball team she played for, why can’t a woman own the next big sports company that’s a worthy competitor to a Nike.
I was taking at look at the roster for the “No More Next” Roundtable discussion, and I see Renee Montgomery and Don C as two of the panelists. How did yo go about picking the panelists for the discussion?
I’ve been hosting a speaker series at my store for a number of years now, and one of my favorite things to do is bring people together in interesting ways. With Renee I thought it would be important because a lot of my collections have been around basketball. I really wanted to take the approach of talking about the culture of basketball, especially since majority of the players are POC, but on the ownership end its predominantly white. Even the infrastructure is majority white. I was really curious to hear what people thought about that. I wanted to bring those conversations to people’s consciousness, so we can have even bigger conversations around them. Renee is a trailblazer in that way.
Don has been in the game for as long as I have and I’ve known him for 20+ years. I was really curious from his standpoint as a designer and as a male. My friend Elle Clay who is a producer/writer, had a podcast called, “Sports bra” where she talked a lot about what was going on in the WNBA and basketball in general.
I thought the three of them would be a really good combination.
What is your favorite affirmation?
I think that this entire year my focus has been about freedom. How can I be completely free to be myself? When I feel free to be myself that’s when I’m in my best zone.
What’s next for you?
Theres so much. I just really love designing things. I’ve been dreaming about designing a house. In terms of growing my business, I’m really excited about the ways in which I can grow and how I can continue to elevate consciousness on social issues and the things I’m passionate about through fashion and design.
What’s on your playlist right now?
Recently I’ve been listening to Toni Jones, she does these affirmation songs and I’ve been listening to her every single morning. The name of her album is “I see Mantras” My favorite track is, “I see thoughts". I’m still obsessed with Jazmine Sullivan’s Hoe Tales, Ahmad Jamal he’s a Jazz musician that I love, and I have a bootleg Sister Act 2 soundtrack that I listen too.
The ME x Foot Locker capsule collection drops Saturday, June 10th exclusively at Foot Locker. This gender-neutral collection ranges from sizes XS-2XL.
The “No More Next” Festival aired on June 5th and you can catch the recap here.