ccessories are not unlike dessert in that they serve as garnishes to punctuate the end of an experience. They are harmless indulgences you entertain for the sole purpose of feeling good: a barrette that pulls back your hair to show off your turtleneck, a brownie at the end of an already delicious meal. They are typically small, impulsive and, in the grand scheme of things, unnecessary — but can easily end up being the most memorable element of the whole composition, sartorial, edible or otherwise.
This surprising and delightful power was the foundation of The Man Repeller Holiday 2018 Buffet, our debut line of accessories, designed for the explicit dual purpose of punching up both your outfit and your mood. It was also the inspiration behind our collaboration with Sweets by CHLOE bakery, a temporary physical pop-up space where earrings, cupcakes, hats and cookies were sold side-by-side, just as the universe intended.
Popping up IRL has been a long time coming. For years, we’ve contemplated what Man Repeller might look like outside its existence as a website (because media is changing, and the written word is only one way to tell a story or nurture the connective fibers of a community). We’ve fantasized about a branch of MR’s treehouse that looks something like a cafe — a place with a menu that features not only the nuts and bolts of literal nourishment like food and coffee but also figurative nourishment in the form of wearable items that put a smile on your face.
Seeing that come to life at Sweets by CHLOE was proof that some of the best storytelling happens outside the parameters of a publishing context, and some of the greatest bonds are stricken as a result. During my four-hour shift at the pop-up, I encountered old friends who sported matching barrettes (and came all the way from Panama to buy more), new friends who met at a recent Man Repeller community event, a man who intended to surprise his girlfriend with a Goldilocks Beanie for Christmas but ended up purchasing two (one for her and one for himself), a friend on a rooster charm earring scouting mission for another friend who lives internationally, and a baby who couldn’t take her eyes off the Carry Bradshaw dopp kit (okay, it was Leandra’s baby).
I had the privilege of witnessing another spin in the evolution of Man Repeller’s wheel as we know it, and the thrill of seeing further proof that the tangible can do more than simply speak to the emotional — it can also uncover it. To all the people who came out and, in purchasing an accessory, offered up a piece of themselves to hang in the air of our little shop like glitter: thank you. And to those of you who wanted to come but couldn’t, or who live too far away, or who decided to take a nap instead: Don’t worry, there’s always next time.
Shop MR Buffet online here.
Photos by Bridget Badore.