It’s been a rocky year for fashion media, with Covid-19 leading to the closure of many once-beloved fashion titles. The latest and one of the most surprising of these closures was announced yesterday, when Business of Fashion reported that Repeller, known until recently as Man Repeller, is shutting down.
BoF‘s report was initially reliant on first-hand testimony from current employees, who said they had been told of the closure via Zoom on Monday. Leandra Medine Cohen, Man Repeller‘s founder, later confirmed the news directly. “I am confirming that Repeller, formerly Man Repeller is ending operations and offering employees severance pay,” she said in a statement.
Man Repeller was, until recently, considered the golden child of new fashion media. Launched by Medine in 2010, the site was one of the first blogs to transform into a fully-fledged, highly respected online fashion publication. The sites’ distinctive aesthetic, voice and roster of editors were well-known to those with even a passing interest in fashion—yet things began to turn for Medine and MR over May and June, as a global reckoning on race pulled many key media figures into its orbit.
Medine stepped back from Man Repeller‘s daily operations back in June, following growing criticism from some former employees about the reported institutional mistreatment of employees of colour. Readers also criticised what they saw as racially homogenous and elitist digital content. Many wondered how Man Repeller would fare without Medine, whose own personal brand was so inextricably linked to the platforms. A couple of months later we had an answer, when the site rebranded under the polarising name Repeller.
Medine, who remained the majority owner of Repeller even as her day-to-day influence on the company waned, told BoF that the decision to shutter the site was purely financial, citing the decimation wrought by a global pandemic. “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,” she revealed. Though the official Repeller channels have not provided a statement confirming the closure, it seems we find ourselves at the end of an era.