Man Repeller, the personal-blog-turned-fashion-label created by Leandra Medine Cohen, is ending operations.
Cohen, who launched the popular fashion lifestyle blog in 2010, confirmed with The Cut that the company, which she described as self-funded since its launch, is shutting down due to financial challenges.
“I am confirming that Repeller, formerly Man Repeller, is ending operations and offering employees severance pay,” Cohen said in a statement to the publication, indicating a name change that presumably occurred in recent weeks. “The company has been self-funded by its operations since its launch ten years ago as a personal blog but due to financial constraints, we are no longer able to sustain the business.”
The dissolution of the business follows a string of recent controversies for Cohen: In June, she found herself in hot water after penning a lengthy blog post in support of anti-racism protests and the Black Lives Matter Movement. In the piece, Cohen committed to featuring underrepresented voices on the site and standing against racism.
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But those promises were met with disdain from some social media users and multiple former Man Repeller employees, who cited a lack of diversity at the company as well as alleged shortcomings on Cohen’s part as a leader. She stepped down soon after but returned to the company in August announcing a revamp of her role in the business.
“I’m slowly returning to the brand in an updated, less operational role that will impact the overall structure of my involvement in the company,” she wrote in a blog post. “I know this sounds very vague, but it will make more sense soon. After years of thinking it’s been my role to teach, I’m eager to spend more time learning from the team, who is showing me what Man Repeller can be.”
In 2018, Cohen also found herself under fire from social media users who accused her of knocking off designs from luxury shoe brand Area. The former FN cover star took to Instagram to address the comments and denied accusations as well as emphasized her support of the Area label.
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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, so, here goes: 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 my 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.
Cohen’s first shoe collection launched in October 2016 with styles named “I’m Here to Party” and “Lol if You Think I’m Walking.” After giving birth to twin daughters in 2018, Cohen told FN in a May cover story for that same year, that she had evolved the collection with fall ’18 styles consisting of open-toe ruffle mules with a kitten heel and velvet houndstooth clogs.