When Foot Locker welcomed Melody Ehsani as the creative director of its women’s line in March of 2021, she had long been designing streetwear through the clothing company she started over a decade ago. “The journey was pretty organic,” she says. “I started my namesake brand about 13 years ago and have invested my full time and energy into it.” Now, the designer—whose pieces have been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Serena Williams—will bring her creative expertise to Foot Locker by designing capsule collections for the company. “Foot Locker had created the role particularly with me in mind, and I appreciated that,” she says. “It gave me the freedom to create something for them that hadn’t been done before, and that’s what we’ve been doing.” The first collection, inspired by her love of basketball, launched last summer.
Much of the excitement surrounding Ehsani’s work centres on her refusal to separate her aesthetics from her identity. From starting a woman-run clothing company to including elements of her Persian heritage in her designs, Ehsani’s work embraces all parts of her, even her spirituality.
“When I work, I can’t leave parts of myself out of the process—I have to bring my whole self,” she says. “Spirituality is a huge part of that.” Her designs contain an authenticity that invites the same from those who wear them, so it’s only natural that, when asked what she hopes people gain from her work, she responds, “a better sense of themselves.”
When it comes to what inspires her, it mostly “depends on where my head is,” she tells us. “I have a particular love for nature, music, movies, or it could be a person.” She also reflects on how her Persian–American identity inspires her work, stating, “I think it’s woven into me—I’m influenced by it in one way or another all the time.” In addition to her Foot Locker capsules, we can anticipate an upcoming collaboration between Beats headphones and the designer.
But despite these many projects, for Ehsani, design is just one part of her larger purpose: “My real work as a human is to show up and serve every day,” she tells us. “Design is just my vehicle to do that.”