THE MAN REPELLER AND THE HUMORIZATION OF SERIOUS FASHION

WORDS BY NATASHA CUCULLO '15

PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVIE DANCE

PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVIE DANCE

The Man Repeller, the creative conception of Leandra Medine, a New York based journalism student turned fashion blogger, originated in 2010 as a “fashion blog dedicated to the celebration of trends that women love and men hate” (The Man Repeller, 2014). The epitome of the “logic of wrong” (something so tragique that it starts to make complete sense), Leandra Medine places both the reader and her body (as well as what she adorns it with) in a constant state of question, always pushing the boundaries of what constitutes as “fashion”. Being a man repeller is a state of mind—and state of dress—that transcends national and international borders, connecting people through self-expression and liberating them through sartorial choice. Medine’s humorous, blunt tone gives The Man Repeller an edge that challenges the seriousness of the industry while still relaying to her readers the significance of fashion and, more importantly, personal style.

As her blog has transformed over the past four years, her global reach has blossomed, and although she has entered the higher echelons of the fashion industry (she has walked in Rebecca Minkoff 2011 Runway Show (Style.com) and has penned the book, Seeking Love, Finding Overalls (2013)), the overall feel of The Man Repeller blog and brand remains true to its roots—showing anyone with a sense of humor that they can explore their identity through fashion and need not compromise their appearance to appease others—for she did not start this blog to repel men; rather, she opened up a discussion on how her sartorial choices, and many other women’s clothing purchases, are not always connected to “man-getting,” and are, instead, a celebration of what personal style means to the individual.

Accordingly, The Man Repeller quickly became a revolutionary take on the way fashion is looked at and styled on the “everyday woman”. The success The Man Repeller has garnered lies in Medine’s skillful juxtaposition of discomfort and conviction. In a 2011 post titled, “Staying Single: A Lesson in Layering Leather”, Medine is seen in leather pants, leather shorts, a leather skirt, and a leather jacket; she outfits herself in ways that deviate from the norm, but in a way that makes it look cool—the type of cool that draws attention to the imperfections and unfeminine tendencies that those who identify as female experience on a daily basis, such as drawing attention to her fupa. Yet, if layering leather on leather on leather on leather wasn’t enough to show that her confidence, comfort and effortless coolness derive from her autonomy to sartorial choice, her witty captions, “birth control glasses” (The Man Repeller, 2011) will make you want a leather fupa, too (and those birth control glasses, if you can get your hands on them).

By continually reinventing the “logic of wrong,” Medine is one of the rare few that has capitalized on her embarrassing quirks to create a movement that celebrates being awkward, weird, and experimental in an industry where everyone supposedly has their shit together (See: The Devil Wears Prada). So “own that ponytail, and twurk that up-do” my friends, because we should all take a lesson from Medine’s book: showcase that leather fupa because it’s better to acknowledge your shit, than pretend to be above it.