Friday, March 24, 2017

Leandra Medine: the Art of Man Repelling

Fashion magazines commonly dominate the shelves at grocery and drug store checkout counters. It is easy to visualize the traditional images and articles that dominate the magazine covers: photoshopped celebrities and articles claiming to have discovered the secret to securing the perfect boyfriend. In sum, these magazines seem to tell women what to wear based on the male gaze. Leandra Medine, however, has been combatting this trend in the fashion world since 2010 with her blog “Man Repeller.”

Upon visiting Man Repeller (which attracts millions of monthly visitors), one quickly becomes aware of the site’s departure from the tradition fashion blog. Featured fashion looks include colorful heels combined with knee-high socks, graphic tee shirts tucked into ruffled skirts, and shoulder pads paired with harem pants. Medine labels these fun and layered looks as “Man Repelling”—fashion that women love but men hate.

Leandra Medine, founder of Man Repeller.

Leandra Medine started the Man Repeller brand in 2010 when she was only 21 years old. Originally just a “freethinking” blog, the brand has grown to become a movement. Through its blog, Instagram/Facebook/Twitter accounts, and several podcasts (Oh Boy, Monocycle, and The Call), Man Repeller discusses a wide variety of topics: fashion, feminism, culture, wellness, relationships, careers—all presented in a smart, sarcastic, and honest way (check out this video).

The brand of Man Repeller breaks many of the categories that society commonly places women into. Medine illustrates for women that a woman’s interest in fashion does not have to be an indicator of vanity, but just another form of self-expression. With Man Repeller, “an interest in fashion never minimizes one’s intellect.” Man Repeller is the site for fashion-savvy women that also like to be engaged in politics. For example, after the 2017 Fashion Week in Paris, Medine posted the article to the “Man Repeller” site discussing the political statements made on the runway. The article talks about the undertones of ways in which attention was paid to the noisy and disturbing life we have already seen in the first few months of 2017. Also, the site did coverage of the Women’s March on Washington, which many Man Repeller employees attended. Fashion, according to Medine, should be whatever a woman wants it to be—a political statement in it of itself.

The creative process, of Medine relies heavily upon collaboration, intrinsic motivation, and the recognition of a previously-unrecognized problem. The Man Repeller headquarters in New York City consists of many like-minded women who are able to bounce ideas off of each other for new content. Also, Medine is very intrinsically motivated and started Man Repeller out of the joy of writing about the things she is passionate about. Lastly, Medine stands as a contemporary creative in that she recognized a problem that many considered a normal part of everyday life. 

I hope you enjoyed some of my favorite Man Repelling looks. Creativity is all about self-expression, and Leandra Medine is breaking down society’s rigid standards of how women can be creative with their clothing.

Gardner, Howard. Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic, 2011. Print,


  1. I am so thankful that Leandra has involved politics in fashion. I'm not sure if she has always been so vocal or if I just started noticing after November, but either way I absolutely love that she has been using the platform to take a stand. Teen Vogue digital has been doing something similar too, so you might find that interesting. Just the name "Man Repeller" (obviously touches on how fashion should be for the woman wearing it and not society) suggests feminism and extending this beyond street style is amazing and truly empowering.

  2. This is really interesting! It's a fascinating mix of social commentary with design. The creativity doesn't lie so much within the actual clothing or arrangement of fabrics as it does with the mindset behind the outfits-mainly, wearing what I want in opposition to or in spite of what is considered attractive by men. It twists Western perception of the purpose of fashion to allow more creativity. If one does not have to, as a precondition, attract men with their clothing, the options for what to wear are less limited than before. The creativity behind the concept relies on the freedom of the woman as someone who does not mind being a "Man Repeller." How does this brand plan on developing in regards to men? As in, does Man Repeller plan on creating a similar concept aimed at men (Female Repeller)? If so, what would the theme be?

  3. This is a wonderful idea. It is great to see people that are engaging women in empowerment, self-expression, and a break from tradition. Often times, women and people in general place their self worth in the opinions of others and thus do what they think they are supposed to do. It is great to see her preach that worth and value are yours to determine. I am sure she has experienced backlash from traditionalists that have come across her content, but I wonder if she is as creative in replying to them or just uses her current methods of going on as a reply to their remarks. I'm so glad you posted about this and that I can now go learn even more about such an amazing person and blog!


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