Melody Ehsani x First Women’s Jordan OG Collaboration
Melody Ehsani, a Los Angeles-based designer has launched the first-ever Women’s Jordan OG collaboration rooted in bringing basketball to a new generation. Symbolizing women’s excellence on and off the court, Ehsani chose to make the shoe black and infrared with a cherry detail and inspirational, handwritten messages on the packaging.
“The legacy [of the Women’s Air Jordan OG] speaks for itself,” Ehsani said. “It was an exciting time in history with the inception of the WNBA and all the incredible women who were coming into the game. The shoe is really an emblem of this moment, a first in many regards.”
Here, Melody explains her approach to her second Jordan Brand collaboration
Going back a lot further than your work with Jordan Brand, how would you describe your journey as a product designer, specifically in the realm of footwear and learning how sneakers and heels are made?
Well, I had dropped out of law school and had just discovered that “product design” was an actual career that a person could have. I started taking night classes at Art Center in Pasadena and interning for a start-up sneaker company. The owner taught me how to design shoes, and I soaked up as much as I could, in terms of trying to learn how they were made.
I stayed there until I wasn’t learning anything anymore, and then decided to move to China to learn the process firsthand. One of my friends from the law world knew a family in the city I wanted to go to. She introduced me, and the family was kind enough to host me. I moved in with them, and the wife accompanied me as my translator. I literally hit the streets, found factories, created relationships, oversaw the entire shoe-making process and came back home with my first collection of women’s sandals and heels after six months.
What was your mindset going into the design of the Women’s Air Jordan OG, your second Jordan Brand collaboration, after having just finished the AJI?
I felt like I was being entrusted with bringing back this hidden gem that had kind of been forgotten about, so at first, I felt a bit of pressure. The shoe only existed for a short period after its release in 1998. I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to reintroduce it design-wise in my typical M.E. fashion, so I went with a more classic approach and focused more on the shoe being an emblem.
What has it been like to see the Air Jordan I continue to grow in popularity, especially in recent years?
It doesn’t surprise me. It’s arguably the most iconic shoe ever made.
Knowing your skills with combining and pulling colors, how did you land at black/cherry/purple paired with the reflective piping?
Can you talk about your concept for the shoe’s photo shoot and how it relates to one of your favorite films?
Yes, growing up as a child born in the ‘80s, when the movie Love and Basketball came out, it had such a big impact on my younger self. It was kind of revolutionary, in the sense that I had never seen a character like Sanaa Lathan’s character EVER! She was who I wanted to be. I loved that she was a basketball player and a tomboy but still feminine. I love how, in the end, she got it all. She got to be in the WNBA and have a kid and get married to her love. I’m sure that looking at the movie now, there are many flaws in it, but back then it was a big deal, and it left a big imprint on me.
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