MEET THE MAN REPELLERThree different boys were taking Upper East Sider Leandra Medine out on dates. They all seemed to like her, and enjoyed spending time with her — but none wanted to be her boyfriend.
When Medine complained to a friend about her predicament, her friend responded, “maybe it’s because you dress funny boys don’t want to take you around.”
Click here for photos of the Man Repeller >
What?! Medine, who is typically draped in Alexander Wang and Philip Lim, was floored.
“If I have to give up good fashion for a relationship, I don’t want a relationship,” she declared.
In response to her relationship troubles, Medine created the blog The Man Repeller in April 2010.
Man-repelling is a style choice, Medine says. And to her, it’s always more important to have good style than to be fashionable.
Medine, who graduated from The New School in May with a degree in journalism, defines “man-repelling” as “outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls, shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs.”
“My blog is not about repelling men, it’s about good fashion,” Medine said. “Being a man repeller becomes a process of elimination. If a guy is only really into your outfit and won’t date you because of what you’re wearing, they are too driven by the female exterior and don’t care about your intellect.”
Within days, The Man Repeller became an internet hit. Style.com, Gawker, The Cut, and Fashionista all covered Leandra’s innovative approach.
“The name definitely drew people to my blog originally, but the content kept them coming back,” Medine says. “I knew I wanted to be a fashion writer, but didn’t want to contribute to the over-saturated market unless I could contribute in a meaningful way.”
Before she knew it, Medine was front-row at fashion week, being photographed and interviewed.
“Designers want me in the front-row because of the real time updates I provide,” Medine said. “I’m tweeting, instagraming, Tumbling from that seat photos of what I’m seeing. And it’s all going to my 40,000 twitter followers and my 10,000 Tumblr followers. The instant access is what it’s all about.”
Her father thought it was an addiction.
Three closets and a garment rack fill Leandra Medine’s room on the Upper East Side. One closet holds 102 pairs of shoes. Another has long dresses, and the third has blouses and pants. The garment rack holds all her coats.
While she has plenty of options, Medine’s favourite piece of clothing is a Philip Lim leopard coat with black leather sleeves. Something she says adds “instant cool” to any outfit.
Medine lives at home, but supports herself through ads on the blog and promotional appearances.
“I use to only be a sales shopper before I started the blog,” Medine said. “But I definitely feel a little more pressure now to wear clothes that are new and current. I want girls to come to my blog for inspiration and for it to be new and contemporary.”
Medine has interned at Valentino, and has partnered with brands such as Griffin to design a trench coat.
She knew designer Rebecca Minkoff –or as Medine calls her “Becky” — because Minkoff has always supported young entrepreneurs trying to make a name for themselves.
A few months ago, Medine was out for drinks with Minkoff’s public relations woman and Medine, who admits she was a little buzzed, blurted out “Becky should have me walk in her show.”
“That’s a great idea, show me your walk.”
Medine strutted her stuff there at Tiny’s in TriBeca and the deal was set. The public relations woman texted Minkoff on the spot and she agreed instantly.
Flabbergasted this drunken-idea worked, Medine tried on a few outfits, was fitted and chose leather shorts and a green trench shirt.
“I know my place I’m a writer, not a model,” Medine said. “But I didn’t want people to think I thought I was a model. I guess I’m a little self-conscious in that respect.”
As Medine cat-walked Sept. 12 in Minkoff’s show, she pulled out her phone to record the event. As the public realised it was The Man Repeller on the runway, cheers and applause erupted.
“One Tree Hill” Star Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) even tweeted, “When @ManRepeller walked in the @RebeccaMinkoff show I screamed my head off. #DieOnTheFloor #GirlCrush #LOVE #nyfw”
The Man Repeller is now its own brand. Some don’t even know Medine’s real name, yet can recognise her on the street. She’s more than happy to stop and say hello to anyone.
It’s still very weird to her she is recognisable and if you say hello she’ll probably ask you what you’re up to later, because she’s free and would love to hang out.
In addition to aligning herself with brands, and jetting off to Paris for Fashion Week, Medine is currently writing a book of short, fun essays that she describes as “not unlike her blog, but not her blog.”
“Over the next year, the big goal is definitely to stay grounded,” Medine said. “Yes, to stay grounded and realise how lucky I am.”
This is one of the outfits Man Repeller wore to Fashion Week. She has on a 3.1 Phillip Lim jacket, pants from Kimberly Taylor, a Reece Hudson purse and Alexander Wang shoes.
Another day at Fashion Week. Here she wears a Club Monaco vest, Alaïa shoes, and Ralph Lauren sunglasses.
Man Repeller has 102 pairs of shoes.. in the city. The other 33 pairs are in the Hamptons. This pair is by Dries van Noten.
Leandra's a laugh-a-minute. She says she likes being her own editor so she can curse whenever she wants. Here she wears Tibi.
In Leandra's living room during some re-decorating. The dress is from J. Mendel and the shoes are Valentino.
Some man-repelling accessories. On: rings: Mark Henry, DANNIJO, Mr. Kate, bracelets: Hermes, LeiVanKash, Shashi.
She even man-repels at jury duty. Yes, she wore this neon outfit while fulfilling her civic responsibilities
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.