Melody Ehsani on Her Final Reebok Collab and Addressing Injustice Through Design

A match made in sneaker collab heaven between creative Melody Ehsani and Reebok is coming to a close — at least for the time being. The entrepreneur and designer is releasing her final series of shoes with the brand, available exclusively at her namesake Los Angeles-based store now and on the Melody Ehsani e-commerce site tomorrow.

Having eyed the socially-conscious business owner several years ago, the sportswear giant has teamed with Ehsani on a number of projects since. “They liked my brand and approached me to design a shoe for them,” she said on how the partnership came to be. Fast-forwarding to Ehsani’s latest venture with Reebok, she’s put a wild spin on the shoes by infusing leopard prints into two new Princess sneakers.

melody ehsani, reebok
The ME. x Reebok Princess sneaker features a bold leopard print design.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Melody Ehsani

“The collection is inspired by best friends,” the designer told Footwear News. A tan color choice — which sold out in under 40 minutes — features an all over leopard print that coordinates with Melody Ehsani apparel pieces including a crop top, leggings and a dress. Ehsani also offers a white version of the ME. x Reebok Princess, this time limiting the leopard print to the midsole for a more reserved design take.

FN spoke with Ehsani ahead of the release to learn more about her connection with Reebok, styling the shoes and how she uses fashion as a tool for empowerment.

melody ehsani, reebok
A white version of the ME. x Reebok Princess features a leopard print midsole.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Melody Ehsani

FN: What attracted you to the brand when you were younger?

Melody Ehsani: “They were the first brand to really cater to a female audience. My first and most prominent memory are the 54 -11’s and the whole aerobic craze. We called them the 54-11’s because they cost $54.11 cents with tax.”

FN: How did you style your Reeboks as a kid?

ME: “Oh, I never owned anything like that until I was in my teens. My parents didn’t believe in spending that kind of money on material things for a kid.  Rightfully so, because we didn’t really have a lot of money back then.”

FN: How do you style your Reeboks now? What styling suggestions do you have for others? 

ME: “I have different moods that range [for] how I personally style them, but it’s usually a mix of high and low. We made these anklets that we pair with the Reebok’s — it was a signature M.E. look for a minute — which is a nice summer moment.”

melody ehsani, reebok
Leopard apparel pieces match the ME. x Reebok sneakers.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Melody Ehsani

FN: What inspired you to create “Stay Woke” and other empowering lace locks?

ME: “It’s a way to channel my anger about the injustices that are occuring in the world in a creative and productive way. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention, and if you’re not paying attention you need to wake up or get out of that bubble you’re in. In order to create real positive change, we need everyone to participate.”

FN: Who would you love to see wearing Melody Ehsani products?
ME: “The golden girls.”

FN: Community is at the heart of your mission, especially empowering women. How do you maintain a close connection with your community and the women you seek to help?

ME: “By creating products that connect people and utilizing my space to create community.  We do a Speaker Series at our retail location on Fairfax Ave. every month and it’s always inspiring to have real, deep conversations about different subjects and then watch the people who come connect with other like minded people that they wouldnt have met otherwise.”

melody ehsani, reebok
Designer and business owner Melody Ehsani.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Melody Ehsani

FN: What would you recommend others can do to get involved within the community and social justice causes?

ME: “I heard this quote that ‘If you’re asleep on the couch, wake up. If you’re awake on the couch, sit up. If you’re sitting on the couch, stand up.’  If everyone took that one step, just one step — we would move forward instantly.  I would recommend doing the thing that comes most natural to you, that’s authentic to you.  If you’re not a marcher, don’t feel guilty for not going to the march…instead do the thing that you do.  If you’re an artist, create art in a more mindful way.  If you’re a chef, a writer, mom, whatever you are — do the thing that calls to you.  I never thought making jewelry or shoes would change the world, but I’ve realized that it does. It doesn’t matter what your vehicle is, you will get there.”

While this marks the end of the Reebok partnership, according to Ehsani there may be more footwear updates coming down the pipeline. “The ideas never stop,” she said.

The ME. x Reebok Princess retails for $125 and will sell online starting Dec. 1 at 12 AM EST.

UPDATE: While the tan version sold out in under an hour, a global release is set for next week and a confirmed list of retailers that will carry the shoes is pending. The release of the white edition of the Reebok Princess is also to be determined according to Melody Ehsani’s press team.

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