Collaborations can be taxing, they can be a challenge – and not always in the best way. Bringing together separate creative visions can require sacrifice and compromise, but truth in identity is central to Melody Ehsani’s vision and working process. The designer has brought her vision to the highest levels of streetwear including multiple collaborations with Jordan Brand (the brass ring for many creatives) and her appointment as the Creative Director of Foot Locker Women’s last year. When talking about standing in one’s own authentic self, Ehsani says “it’s akin to putting your oxygen mask on first if the plane is going down. You want to learn compromise versus sacrifice, unless you really feel called to sacrifice.”
For the first time ever, StockX paired up with Coachella for an unprecedented collection of collaborations between festival performers and creative design partners on exclusive merchandise. We’re thrilled to bring Melody Ehsani together with soulful singer / songwriter Snoh Aalegra, but the partnership was only too obvious. “I’ve been vibing to her music and following her evolution for a minute,” says Ehsani. “She’s been wearing my stuff for a while. We happen to share a lot of mutual friends and it was just an authentic connection. It was the natural next step.”
We last caught up with Melody Ehsani in 2020 during All-Star Weekend, and while the world has changed a lot in the last two years, Ehsani’s philosophy has remained consistent: she cares most about what she’s representing and how people relate to her work.
“It’s important to take care of yourself so that you can be the best vehicle to help others, but it always starts with Self. For me, I draw boundaries when I’m in a creative space and working on a project. I don’t like having a lot of external influence – it’s too distracting for me. When I have something to share or offer is when I invite people in for the conversation.”
Both Ehsani and Aalegra have clear points of view that echo through their work. Aalegra’s is smooth, dreamy, syrup thick. Like a hot bath, her music invites you to slip into it and get lost in your own internalized experiences. To get to know yourself even better. For Ehsani, that experience is integral to what she does and where she sees real consistency between her and Aalegra. “If you don’t have a voice or an identity of your own, you’re just an imitation of something – and that’s not what we do,” she explains. Ehsani’s own eponymous brand often uses her initials “ME.” which offers a centralization of self for anyone who rocks a signet ring or pair of hoops. True celebration of self makes it possible to show up more authentically and fully to celebrate others, and the pieces from Ehsani and Aalegra and a true celebration of Aalegra and her music.
Ehsani built a foundational reference into the pieces that offer insight into how Ehsani sees her creative partner. Out of all the collaborations in the StockX x Coachella collection, the pieces from Ehsani and Aalegra are the only ones that feature the artist’s face. It’s a specific choice to fit the work into a familiar tradition. “This was the only vision I had for this project,” Ehsani says. “She reminds me of Sade… [Snoh] has a timeless iconic beauty that radiates from the inside out. When you buy a Sade tee, you want her face on it, nothing else – for me, it’s the same with Snoh.” But it’s not just about making good merch. It’s also about using the opportunity to mark the work and representation that Aalegra creates and offers
“I really love Snoh’s face,” she says. “The more important reason to me was because as a fellow Persian woman, Snoh is breaking trail. Growing up as a first-generation immigrant born in Los Angeles, I never saw any one that looked like me or shared my heritage reflected in any aspect of pop culture, be it music, TV or film. Having Snoh in this space is groundbreaking for all Persian girls and Middle Eastern women across the world.
Ehsani is very clear to point out that the considerations are more than representation. “Cultural similarities are never enough of a reason to want to work with someone – it’s because we have true mutual admiration for the other’s work.” Each of these creative, philosophical, and cultural touchpoints build together into more than what just a couple teeshirts or a hoodie can do. They create a moment woven in cotton and printed in ink that provide a greater story to mark an incredible accomplishment and a continuation of a story that anyone can relate to. “This collaboration is something that will be a time capsule for any one who buys it,” Ehsani explains. “This is her first Coachella performance and her star is only getting brighter. It’s the kind of item I would buy and keep just to say I was there and I was up on her before everyone else was.”
Click here to shop the DropX™ Exclusive Melody Ehsani x Snoh Aalegra x Coachella collaboration on StockX.