Man Repeller Is Shutting Down, This Is What It Taught Me
By: xxx Published: d/m/Y
A lot has happened in the Man Repeller universe this year. The transition to Repeller being the smallest one.
To all of you who has missed out on what’s been going on, here’s a recap: Leandra Medine Cohen, founder and publisher of Man Repeller, was accused of racism during the rise of the the Black Lives Matter movement. She responded by first defending herself and then stepping down all together from her role at Man Repeller. A month or so later, in an effort to be more inclusive, Man Repeller dropped the “Man” and lived on as just “Repeller”. However, their attempts failed and according to Business of Fashion, the cyber publication is now officially being discontinued. News which would have been easy to dismiss as fake if it wasn’t so that Repeller hadn’t posted anything in 5 whole days.
With the internet being what it is, digital, it’s impossible to sweep anything under the proverbial rug. Say what you will about cancel culture and online shaming, but one thing’s for sure, it’s powerful. It started snowballing and shutting down probably seemed like the only way out for the cult magazine in question.
It’s complex and may be problematic but I still feel a need to talk about the impact that Man Repeller has had on me and my writing since a very early age. Ever since the start in 2010 I have been a true fan. Back then, I was 15 years old and had no idea I would end up working in fashion. I had fun getting dressed, redoing old vintage pieces I found in thrift shops with my grandmother and taking photos of myself wearing them. I could not afford any of the designer pieces Leandra Medine was wearing (although we did buy the same skirt at Topshop once) but that was the last thing on my mind. I was literally swooning over the way she talked about fashion. It was smart, it was fun, and it spoke to me like nothing I had ever read before.
B.MR (Before Man Repeller) writing had only been about observing reality as it was. Leandra Medine wrote from her creative and peculiar point of view and it was totally OK. It was in no way less intellectual just because it was “fun” and “different”. Her world became a safe space for me. Everyone around me, adults and classmates, had always made fun of my interest in fashion, dismissing it as superficial and weird. In Leandra’s universe, it was not. I know, bu fucking hu, poor little girl mocked for her clothes. But I found confidence in Leandra’s writing, being who she was, speaking like she did and not apologizing for it (I guess that is what got a bit problematic later on). If she could do that, so could I.
I left Man Repeller as a reader a few years ago. To me, the direction changed, and I couldn’t really relate to the content anymore. The the accusations of racism came up to the surface I unfollowed everything. Truth be told, this is partly why I and Linn founded Hobnob. To be able to talk to you guys in a way we’ve always enjoyed others (Man Repeller in the early years being one of them) talking to us about fashion. In a fun, smart and relatable way.