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Sneaks

Pump Ups: Reebok Teams Up with Melody Ehsani [Kicks]

Reebok Classics marked their continued partnership with designer extraordinaire, Melody Ehsani, with the release of her ‘Love Me Or Leave Me Alone’ Pump Up. This also marks the first time a woman has collaborated on a shoe featuring Reebok's iconic Pump silhouette, but Melody does the shoe justice as she breaks from all sorts of convention to deliver a shoe that has as much color as it does python-influence.

With primary colors in full gear, the luxe python textured uppers feature faux gold-plates on the laces and a camo effect everywhere short of the staple Pump on the tongue. The kicks have already shutdown Melody’s LA store and online shop, but they'll slither into global fashion retailers this Friday, February 7th for a retail price of $200 USD.

Will you cop them for yourself or for that special lady?

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Chicks N' Kicks: A$hlay Ca$hlay x Tae Merida | Nike Blazers x AF1 Butter

As our Chicks N' Kicks series has continued to grow, we've interviewed a number of young ladies who are making waves, taking names and rocking kicks as they handle business, but never have we featured a duo...until now. Los Angeles-based creatives A$hlay Ca$hlay and Tae Merida are an inspiring pair not only because they've managed to make a name for themselves in a city packed with talent, but they've done it while remaining a team in both their individual and collective efforts. As a photographer, Ashlay Cashlay delivers images that tend to capture your attention. As a person, Ashlay Cashlay delivers a personality that does the exact same thing. With a generous Tumblr following (due, in large part, to her personal reflections and what I've dubbed, Ashlay-isms) and a voice that seems to reach well beyond her 27-years, Ashlay Cashlay continues to march to the beat of her own lens as she dives into the male-dominated directing world. If that wasn't enough, Tae Merida is pretty much a trip to the triple threat candy store as this statuesque beauty proves she's more than just a pretty face with the marketing and creation of 20andSomeChange - a new addition to the production company AND online magazine she (along w/ business partner Ashlay) are creating for your everyday consumption.

Take a look below as we head to the Santa Monica Pier to chop it up with this model entrepreneur (see what I did there?) and this self-described "wave goddess."

Name: AshlayCashlay Age: 27 Location: LA Occupation: Photographer, Director, Creator. Kicks Shown: Nike Blazers Website/Contact: www.ashlaycashlay.com / info@ashlaycashlay.com

Name: Shante' "Tae" Merida Age: 27 Location: LA Occupation: Model, Marketing, & Entrepreneur. Kicks Shown: Air Force 1's -Butter Website/Contact: www.TaeMerida.com / booking@TaeMerida.com

CL: For those who may not be familiar, tell us a bit about yourselves.

AC: IM ASHLAYCASHLAY. PHOTOGRAPHER/ DIRECTOR/ CREATOR; WAVE GODDESS.

TM: I'm Tae Merida; My heart is with modeling & my mind is with marketing. I'm a humanitarian at heart, loyal by nature, a bit of a spitfire, and the girl that can make anyone laugh.

CL: Ashlay, talk to us about how you got into the video directing game and how your creative eye has grown since your start.

AC: I STARTED PHOTOGRAPHY KNOWING I WOULD EVENTUALLY TRANSITION INTO FILMING AND DIRECTING. DURING THE PROCESS OF ME TRAINING MY EYE I STARTED SEEING STILL IMAGE CAPTURES IN THE FORM OF MOVEMENT, THE MOMENT THAT STARTED HAPPENING I KNEW IT WAS TIME TO GIVE FILMING A SERIOUS TRY. I THEN BEGAN FILMING, DIRECTING AND EDITING.

CL: Looking back on Arima Ederra’s “Earth To Arima,” it seems like your photographer’s eye played a huge part in the shot sequencing and the presentations of color. What did you learn most from that experience from a director stand-point?

AC: ARIMA EDERRA'S "FLOW CHART" WAS THE FIRST FULL LENGTH VIDEO I DIRECTED. IM GRATEFUL FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS BUT WHAT THAT EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME IS ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR GUT FEELING - DOING SO ALLOWED LITTLE ROOM TO INDULGE IN DOUBT WHICH LEAD ME TO CAPTURE ALL THAT I ENVISIONED EXACTLY AS I ENVISIONED.

CL: Tae, it’s so interesting to see some of the images you’ve shot because you seem so versatile in your modeling ability. When did you know that modeling was something you could see for your future?

TM: I have always had a passion for posing and playing dress up at a young age. After I graduated college and trying to get into my field, I had a moment where I had to ask myself what really gives me the most fulfillment. -And shortly after I relocated to Los Angeles in pursuit of my happiness.

CL: We’ve peeped some of the footage and the buzz surrounding 20andSomeChange. Talk to us a bit about the concept behind that collective.

WE ARE CURRENTLY REBRANDING 20ANDSOMECHANGE.COM BUT WE'RE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE IN ADDITION TO OUR PRODUCTION COMPANY WE WILL BE LAUNCHING AN ONLINE MAGAZINE. ASHLAY AND I WILL PRODUCE AND EDIT CONTENT ALONG SIDE A FEW CONTRIBUTORS. THE IDEA BEHIND '20ANDSOMECHANGE' WAS TO SERVE AS A PLATFORM TO HIGHLIGHT UP & COMING AND ESTABLISHED ENTREPRENEURS IN THEIR TWENTIES; AS WELL AS PROVIDE A MEDIA OUTLET FOR TWENTIES ALIKE THAT COVERS EVERYTHING FROM FASHION, MUSIC, ART, EVENTS, & LIFESTYLE MINUS THE NEGATIVE PRESS. BE SURE TO CHECK BACK IN A FEW WEEKS FOR THE RELAUNCH OF OUR SITE!

CL: Chicks N’ Kicks is really all about promoting healthy business relationships amongst young women who are working hard to create a legacy. One thing I really like about the two of you is you really seem like you genuinely support one another. What are some of the ways you help each other excel outside of your collective work?

AC: FOR STARTS IM TERRIBLE AT SCHEDULING. TAE' ON THE OTHER HAND IS AN AMAZING PLANNER I HAVE MY MOMENTS WHERE TO MUCH IS GOING ON AND SHE IS ALWAYS THERE TO QUICKLY GET ME BACK ON TRACK. ALSO, SHES REALLY GREAT WITH HEALTH AND FITNESS SO IM BLESSED TO HAVE GAINED A NUTRITIONIST AND A TRAINER ALONG SIDE MY BUSINESS PARTNER AND FRIEND.

TM: I always say Ashlay is my biggest cheerleader, and I truly mean it. If I come up with an idea, Ash is not only behind it but will encourage me to actually follow thru with it and take on any creative direction. She's has a "motherly" instinct and genuinely has my best interest at heart.

CL: Finish this sentence – “My personal style is ____________.”

AC: A TOUCH OF VINTAGE AND AN OVERALL IDGAF. WEAR WHATEVER MAKES YOU SMILE AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF.

TM: Edgy with a touch of sleek & simple. Your style is a true reflection of your identity, so do you and have fun with it.

CL: Ashlay, we’re huge fans of The Cashlay Project and the chronicles of your journey. Your posts seem both extremely personal and insightful – what, if anything, does this catharsis do for your work?

AC: THANKYOU! TCP IS MY ONLINE MEMOIR I DONT PROMOTE IT IF YOU'VE VISITED COOL. IF NOT COOL. THE ARCHIVE BACK DATES TO 2008 - ITS BEEN A SOURCE FOR ME TO REVISIT ON DAYS I NEED A REMINDER ON HOW FAR IVE COME.

CL: You’ve both are working and living in Los Angeles. What kind of growth have you both seen in 2013? What can we expect to see throughout the remainder of the year?

AC: FOR ME IM BREAKING OUT OF MY SHELL AND OWNING ALL OUTLETS THAT IM ABLE TO BE CREATIVE IN. ALL IN ALL IM BEING ME. . PEACE OF MIND ; PIECE OF MINE. AS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR I WILL CONTINUE TO DROP VISUALS.

TM: Personally, the transition of moving to LA has been a huge blessing. I'm learning to truly 'let go & let God'. I've slowly but surely let my guard down and found a way to turn my insecurities into a form of confidence. Throughout the process, I've seen growth in my modeling and a clearer way of thinking. For the remainder of the year I will continue to focus on my passion & build my brand.

CL: Obviously we love sneakers. What are a few of your favorite pairs to rock?

AC: MY ALL TIME FAVE SNEAKERS HAS TO BE MY HIGH TOP BLACK AF1 WITH THE GUM BOTTOM IVE HAD THESE SHOES FOR 10 YEARS. - I DONT THINK I WILL EVER GET TIRED OF THEM.

TM: All the Jordan 1's -especially the black & gold. But most likely you'll catch me in a pair of Chucks. #TaelorGang

CL: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

AC: SEND OUT POSITIVES VIBES TO THE UNIVERSE AND THEY WILL RETURN. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO TRY IT.

TM: My Daily Mantra: "TAKE PRIDE IN HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME & FAITH IN HOW FAR YOU WILL GO".

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Photo Props: ChripImages Photo Edits: WMS Media

Chicks N' Kicks: Jade Alston | Adidas Superstar 2.0

su·per·star (spr-stär)n. 1. A widely acclaimed star, as in movies or sports, who has great popular appeal. 2. One that is extremely popular or prominent or that is a major attraction.

The definition of a superstar is pretty self-explanitory. We're constantly bombarded with images, videos and stories about those folks who just tend to have a certain sense of "popular appeal." So, it's quite fitting that Jade Alston opted to wear a pair of shoes that are called, you guessed it...Superstars. You may or may not be familiar with singer/songwriter Jade Alston, but you will be. The Philly-bred beauty is far more than a pretty face and a pair of to-die-for legs, she's also ridiculously talented on both the mic and with a pen.

After honing her writing skills with the likes of Grammy recognized hit-makers Claude Kelly, Chuck Harmony & Jon Jon Traxx and releasing two mixtapes (Single On A Saturday Night and it's follow-up Sunday Morning: Single On A Saturday Night, Pt. 2), Jade has captured the attention of the music world in more ways than one.

But, music isn't her only passion. This year she's using her own experiences as an artist to help others just like her as she launches her non-profit initiative The {Art}ist Label. The {Art}ist Label is an art-focused parent brand to several ventures that support The {Art}ist Label Inititiative. The {Art}ist Label Inititative is an effort to support art education among young people and to show the possibilities for careers in the arts. Jade's message to the youth is to “own your art.” The fashion forward singer is also tapping into her enthusiasm for other forms of art by working as a brand ambassador and designer for several up-and-coming fashion labels.

Whew! She's a busy gal. While Jade's star is yet to reach it's highest point, it's only a matter of time before this starlet is seeing her name in more lights than we can imagine, because, even in our brief conversation with her - it's clear this gal has a clear case of star appeal.

Take a look below as we talk Philly sound, peer comparisons and one killer fashion sense.

Name: Jade Alston Location: Philadelphia, PA Occupation: Indie Pop/Soul Recording Artist & Songwriter Kicks Shown: Adidas Superstar 2.0 (White and Blue)/Adidas Original High - Vanity (Black and White) Website/Contact: www.JadeAlston.com

CL: Tell us a bit about how your background and how growing up in Philadelphia influenced your musical inclination. JA: Philly is so honest, so real. I think that’s why my music is that way. There’s something about the air here that forces you to be that way.

CL: There have been a number of prominent musicians that have come out of your hometown of Philly, PA. How would you say you differentiate from the likes of Jill Scott, The Roots and even new acts like Meek Mill?

JA: I’d say I’m a good blend of the “earthy” soul movement that started here, mixed with the new stuff that’s going on with hip-hop here. Like Kanye said, I got the Benz and the backpack. lol

CL: Would you say your perspective makes you a bit more relatable to your listeners than some of your female peers? JA: I wouldn’t compare myself to my peers. One of my main goals is independence. But I would say “relatability” is something I strive for when I write. You can make your own comparisons though. [Laughs]

CL: Speaking of other artists, - you’ve been dubbed “a combination of Toni Braxton and Aaliyah.” Do you agree with the comparisons?

JA: Ok, Ok, If I HAD to compare myself, then yeah I’d say those two are huge influences, among others. I can’t deny my warm, sultry voice. I didn’t choose it, it chose me, lol. And people do often say that my personality/vibe remind them of that homegirl thing Aaliyah had.

CL: Anyone who has heard your debut project, Single On A Saturday Night, can pretty much get the gist of the EP. Talk to us about it’s sister record, Sunday Morning: Single On A Saturday Night, Pt. 2. Do you think it gives listeners a better understanding of the sound we can expect from you?

JA: The second project definitely goes a little deeper into my sound but still not fully what I have in mind for my album. But it’s all about progression & I think this one is definitely a step up from the first one.

CL: I’ve got to say that I absolutely LOVE the Brownstone sample you used in “If I Was Your Girl” and I dig the high-energy we hear in “”Guessing Games.” How did those particular records come about?

JA: Both started with the beats from the production team, The Rose Bros. I honestly wasn’t sold on the “if I was your girl” beat right away. It took a couple hours to catch a vibe for melodies. Then the concept just came to me. Guessing Games was a little easier. They play the rough version of the beat & I immediately started singing melodies. It just felt really great, almost instantly.

CL: After the video for “Searching” you were definitely on our fashion radar. How would you describe your personal style?

JA: It’s always changing. But no matter what, my personal style always has some sort of homegirl element because that’s who I am.

CL: What should fans of your music look forward to in the coming months?

AR: Videos, new projects, more fashion evolution, collaborations, etc…We kinda shut down for a while to really revamp things. I’m excited to get things rolling again.

CL: Obviously, we love kicks. What are some of your favorite ways to rock your sneaks?

JA: If I’m wearing sneakers then I love to be sexy & show my legs in short shorts or skirts or something like that. I like to add a feminine edge.

CL: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

JA: Stay tuned for what’s next. I’m pretty excited about what we have up our sleeves!

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We figured you might want to see this songstress in action so, take a look below as Jade performs her OWN rendition (complete with guitar) of Drake's new joint, "Girls Love Beyonce."

Photo Props: Jasmine Alston Graphic Props: Jason Sanders of WMS Photography/Media Additional Nods: Melissa Patterson, Jade Alston, Power 105.1FM

Chicks N' Kicks: Jonnell Chavez | AJ 13 Retro CDP.

Name: Jonnell ChavezAge: 25 Location: Formerly Triple D, Now West Coast Steezin’ Occupation: Designer x Creator x Graphic Artist Kicks Shown: Air Jordan 13 Retro CDP Website/Contact: www.JONNELLCHAVEZ.com | create@jonnellchavez.com

Despite her tiny frame (she's 5'2") Jonnell Chavez is nothing to take lightly. Self-described as "sexy with a dash of ratchet," the half latina beauty has not only become a design heavyweight in the male dominated graphic arts field (you might recognize her work from Draya Michele's 'FINE ASS GIRLS' campaign) but she's also beginning to take her design talents to that clothing game with the release of a small collection of items that have created quite a buzz...inside and outside of the Mary Jane crowd.

We sat down with Jonnell to talk motivation, inspiration and 'Ratchet Season' all while she rocked a mean pair of AJ 13's.

CL: For those who may not be familiar, tell us a bit about Jonnell Chavez.

JC: An artist and designer. A bit outside the box and non-traditional. I’m weird… I embrace my weirdness… it works for me.

CL: One has to be quite the creative personality to do what you do. Talk to us about how you got into the design game and how it’s changed, for you, as your business has grown from infancy.

JC: I fell into it actually. Originally I wanted to pursue audio engineering, however, I took an instant love once exposed to design. That was many moons ago…when I was designing flyers for $45.00.

Design is constantly evolving, as am I. I have recently made a shift to move away from designing nightlife flyers to focus more on business branding such as logos, packaging, websites, etc. You can see by visiting my website =) jonnellchavez.com

CL: LOL! There goes that branding! You’ve really had a hand in creating a number of eye-catching designs. Which would you say was a design that has helped put a stamp on who you are as a creative eye?

JC: I think my design style period is what has captured people. It’s feminine yet, not super frilly and girly. Recently, what really solidified things was designing the FINE ASS GIRLS street wear brand for Draya Michele of Basketball Wives.

CL: Websites, logos, full-scale graphics – you pretty much do it all. Why did you decide to go into business for yourself instead of taking your talents elsewhere?

JC: Welp, design is the only thing I have stuck with in life. I got fired or quit every job I had before so one day I said, "I’m just do this from home, it’s got to work," and it worked! It took a lot of prayer and patience, though.

CL: Finish this sentence – “My personal style is ____________.”

JC: Street Chic. Sexy with a dash of ratchet. Hence, the name for my line's second collection, 'Ratchet Season.'

CL: Speaking of your line, even with the number of clients you’ve generated as a graphic artist, you’ve still managed to start your own line of apparel. How did that come about?

JC: I originally designed and started planning at the top of last year, but my designs were too intricate so I pushed it to the side. One day, I woke up and said, "It’s now or never. I have to do this." I just made the switch from doing 48-hour projects [for my graphic design company] to five day turnarounds or more so that both businesses can run smoothly.

CL: I loved your take on The-Dream’s hit with your “Dope Bish” tee as well as your simple take on the Mary Jane/Bandana combination crew. It seems as if music might play a role in your creativity when it comes to your graphics for the line. Would that be a correct assumption?

If so, how much inspiration comes from certain songs?

JC: Thank you! Music does play a role in my designs, however, I didn’t even know The-Dream had a song titled "Dope Bish" until, like, a month ago. LOL!

My next collection, 'Ratchet Season,' has been inspired from everything we deem ratchet from the early 90’s. I love playing with bandanna prints, gold...the whole west coast vibe [is an inspiration]. I have an entire 'Ratchet Season' playlist on Spotify that consists of all music that inspired this collection. There is a lot of Tupac on there. He was a real G. Ha!

CL: You're getting ahead of me again! Seeing as how you’ve just made a big move to Los Angeles, what can we expect from you in the next few months?

JC: AHHHH and it’s been the most hectic move ever, but well worth it! I will be releasing 'Ratchet Season' at the top of April and I expect to drop a few exclusive items as well that will be available on JonnellChavez.com.

My creative studio will be expanding with the addition of four new creative minds, so that’s something I'm looking forward to!

CL: Obviously, we love sneakers. What are a few of your favorite pairs to rock?

JC: Chucks, of course! LOL! any color is cool long as they are still G and not cheesy. I also love Nike Dunks. I think those are really cute if worn the right way.

*Writer's Note: Jonnell was originally supposed to rock a custom pair of Chuck's in our shoot, but they we uncompleted as of our call time.

CL: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

JC: Just a reminder that 'Ratchet Season' will be out at the top of April! Visit my website JONNELLCHAVEZ.com and follow me on my social networks! You can find me on twitter, IG and Tumblr @JonnellChavez.

Thank you so much!

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Photo/Graphics: Jason Sanders of WMS Photography Make-Up: Jamie Dionne Shirt: 'Ratchet Season' by Jonnell Chavez - Coming Spring 2013.