With mentors like her mom and Frank Ocean, how could streetwear designer Melody Ehsani go wrong?
“Every time I talk to Frank,” Melody shares, “I learn something from him. He has taught me to be regimented, disciplined, preferential in my work and not feel crazy.”
A native Angeleo and the daughter of two artists, Melody assumed that the only way to enact justice was through the legal system. She attended UCLA, majored in Philosophy/Sociology in preparation for law school.
However, after several law related internships at every place from Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to private law firms in LA, she knew it was not the path for her. “I had an anxiety attack before entering law school,” she says, “and as a result was forced to dig deeper. I had always felt that the only way that I could carry out my affinity for justice in the world was through the law. I was wrong.”
But wrong can lead to rights. Both personally and fighting for them. Though she had previously associated fashion with a shallowness, Melody “started seeing the nobility in creating beautiful items that made women feel more confident and happy.” She found that doing what she loved was the greatest way she could serve the world.
“In our world,” says Melody, “it’s so easy to get distracted and to truly forget who we are. It’s so important to check in daily and find memory of who you know you are, as opposed to who people want you to be.”
She’s not immune to fear or doubt. Mediation, looking in versus looking out, and staying connected spiritually are all vital to her success. Every morning she wakes up, prays/meditates, does 20 minutes of stretching on a foam roller, and then takes her journal down to my favorite coffee shop. Where she sits “with a cup and has ME time. It sets the tone for my day.”
And she's asked herself the question that all entrepreneurs ponder: “What if my business tanks? What if I don’t succeed?” But a wise friend told her, “You are not a role, you are an entity. If your business tanks, you’re still going to be Melody Ehsani. This business is just a role, but you… you are forever going to be you.” She took it to heart.
As the world of streetwear evolves, Melody hopes, “that streetwear steps up and becomes the raw, unfiltered voice that its always been, sort of like how hip hop was in the ‘80s. I also hope more women in the industry step out and let their voices be heard louder than ever, because now is the time. The feminine needs a bigger voice.”
She’s ready and willing to show up. Unapologetically. For her sisters. “I think it is essential that we band together, because we need critical mass to make a change. As women we need to remind one another that the things we feel and experience are real and OK.”
That includes questioning the status quo and weeding out the red herrings. “After a visit to the White House earlier this year I learned that women are paid significantly less than men in the workforce because women rarely ask for raises, whereas men ask for them often, and often receive them. If we had more women leaders in the workforce, we would learn basic things like this, to ask for our place."
“To quote Obama,” Melody says, “I don’t have a bucket list but I have something that rhymes with that.”