The perfect T-shirt can be elusive, even to the most discerning shopper. For Leandra Medine, though, the formula is quite simple: "Neckline — always crew neck, preferably falling in line with my collarbones; quality — just the right amount of starchy and soft; and arm-hole width — I don't like T-shirts with tight sleeves," she divulged. On paper, this seems pretty straightforward, but once you're faced with the hundreds of thousands of jersey tops on the market, it's easy to get stumped. Never fear, for now the tee shopping process has been streamlined — and Man Repeller-ified. Medine went ahead and designed her own perfect T-shirt for fashion-favorite label Monogram.
The street-style star dreamt up two T-shirts for the brand, which will be available online and at the Man Repeller pop-up in New York through March for $65 a pop. Each style bears the website's logo juxtaposed with vintage food photos: one is of a fruitcake, and the other is of a pair of hands holding silverware. "Originally, we had the idea to have completely unrelated inanimate objects on the T-shirt under the words Man Repeller," Medine told Refinery29. But then, the team stumbled upon a series of archival photos that resonated deeply with the brand's mission. The fruit cake, for one, is a textbook welcome gift for new people in a neighborhood, she said, which "seemed really on point for Man Repeller, because we are constantly welcoming people to join our community." The meaning behind the knife-and-fork graphic is even cheekier: "We're expressing the action of eating up Man Repeller [content]," Medine noted. Touché.
According to Lisa Mayock, Monogram's co-founder, the Man Repeller founder walked into their first meeting with a plan: to design "a bright pink T-shirt with a mundane object on it" — and she already had an outfit to style it with in mind. Eventually, they discovered they shared a mutual appreciation of '70s food photography. And, thus, the capsule was born.
"T-shirts are like a blank slate," Mayock explained to us. "As a category, they're the perfect vehicle for someone to voice what it's like to be in their own skin." Back in the early aughts, our graphic T-shirt collection was among our most prized possessions (along with a velour tracksuits, of course). But Mayock noted that given the strange climate we find ourselves in today, many are looking for new ways to express how they feel — and what better canvas than what you wear? Thus, the brand hasn't shied away from topical slogans: In September, Monogram released a sophomore collection that featured an election-themed top that read, "The Stakes Are Too High To Stay Home."
When it came time to pick its first-ever collaborator, Mayock and Jeff Halmos felt Medine, someone who has built a company that champions dressing for oneself and fashion as self-expression, was a natural choice. "We created Monogram to empower women to use their voice and lead with their personality," Mayock noted. "Leandra embodies this idea so well by using fashion to articulate her point of view." Likewise, Medine (who has teamed up with Net-a-Porter, Atea Oceanie, and Outdoor Voices in the past) thinks that what makes a collab uniquely Man Repeller is a point of view. "I think [our] aesthetic is really maximalist but not in a way that is frustratingly inapproachable or impossible to pull off," she said.
As far as the most Man Repeller way to wear her Monogram collection? Medine made it clear: "T-shirt and ball gown or sequined skirt, no question!"