Leandra Medine Cohen Responds to Online Accusations That She Knocked Off Area’s Shoe Design

Leandra Medine Cohen has recently come under fire on social media, with users accusing the Man Repeller founder of knocking off the designs of luxury shoe brand Area.

In response, the recent FN cover star took to Instagram to address the comments made about a recent shoe that launched from her collection, which features a chandelier-inspired crystal fringe hanging from the heel of the metallic sandal — as does the Area style called out by several social media users.

“I’ve hesitated about whether to respond to the commentary surrounding a recent shoe that launched from my collection and have largely withheld because I believe it is Area who most deserves a response (and I’ve reached out to them accordingly) but given the frequency with which I have historically shared (although that’s changing because I’m changing), I understand that it also says more if I don’t speak than if I do,” Cohen explained.

“This probably sounds ridiculous, but because my shoes were already being sampled at the time of the show, when I saw them at Area last September, I felt validated more than anything that we were tuned into the same design frequency. Naively and unfortunately, it did not occur to me that they could be seen as knockoffs. Though the footwear collection is a personal pursuit, I recognize the current inextricability of name to Man Repeller’s, and Man Repeller has always championed young brands, which is why one of our editors attended the show last night, as planned, to give them fair and positive coverage as we would any other deserving brand. This response may not change your view, and I understand if it does not, but I do hope Area knows that I remain a fan.”

In an interview with FN last week, Cohen mentioned Area as one of the brands whose shows at New York Fashion Week she was hoping to support.

“I’m excited for the newer designers that are shaping New York fashion like Eckhaus Latta, Area and Maryam Nassir Zadeh — those brands have started to feel like the core of what makes New York fashion special,” she said. “They’re really different from the fashion we see in other cities, and they’re dimensional in that they’re not just about clothes. They’re so wrapped up in identity politics and the way in which we are absorbing the human spirit and also our relationship with our bodies and ourselves in a way that’s really intelligent. I’m excited about that movement because it’s a pretty direct manifestation of ‘fashion is more than just clothes.'”

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