Laura Reilly Says Her Readers Are All Really Hot
The newsletter maven on escaping fashion, her writing routine, starting her own line one day, and objectifying her followers.
Photos by Deb Leal
There's one newsletter every fashion girl reads. Sure, there are handfuls of shopping Substacks that cater to every subculture of style, but one is running laps around them: Magasin. Its writer, Laura Reilly, has the fashion set dialed. Sales? She's sifted them. Emerging designers? She knows them. Comps? She's found them. Strangely niche items that you need to find immediately? She'll give you a dozen options.
As she navigates high season (she just conquered Black Friday and is still dueling out gift guides), we asked Laura what really goes on behind the scenes — in between designer appointments, after brand brunches and before evening launch parties. Hint: she somehow manages to get a newsletter out against all odds. Below, Brooklyn's Tabi-wearing, Lemaire-loving, Kassl coat-sporting writer walks us through her process.
Okay, you’re the top dog of shopping, gifting, and all things treasure hunting. How did this begin? Have you always been a searcher?
Laura: First of all, thank you!! I don't think I'd realized it until right this minute, but yes! I have always kind of hunted things. I grew up in Costa Rica, where there was no fashion "scene," so my way into this nascent interest was through online fashion forums like TheFashionSpot, where I'd converge with strangers to crowdsource examples of one-legged jumpsuits and trace matador influences in couture, as well as through thrifting. I was digging up old Balenciaga and YSL and Versace. If there had been an H&M in town, I might never have gained the same appreciation for that kind of visionary "cool."
Give us your typical (if there is one) daily routine.
Laura: My most idealized version of my most average day goes something like: wake up — make coffee — check and respond to emails in a timely manner — obsess over newsletter data for a bit (follower count, affiliate revenue, engagement rates, projection comparisons) — avoid writing for as long as possible — actually get some writing done. From there, I'll have two appointments in the city, rarely situated nearby, and then enough time to run home, change, and go to an evening thing that's also, of course, back in the city. That I'm able to put out a newsletter ever is a miracle and a mystery!
What’s your process for writing a newsletter? You have a prompt and then…
Laura: The above is only partially untrue. Mondays are generally a designated work day. I'll collect the news and sales of the week—culled from PR emails, store newsletters, IG screenshots, readers tips—into a Google Doc that my News Editor Em Seely-Katz and I work through together, point by point, for the send that goes live nearly every Tuesday. The meat of that send creates some structure, but the intro section is where I can reflect free-form on any shopping thoughts I've had since the previous send.
The other franchises I'll regularly send out are "here's me wearing some outfits," which I then break down in terms of why they work and what makes the pieces comprising them special; and product roundups, which give me the space to share my excitement about the million things I'm discovering in my shopping trawls that I haven't yet bought. These can be a bit stream of consciousness-y before I edit them back. For the former, I rent a different studio space each time and bring a photographer to shoot candid-style, iPhone photos, and for the latter, I use the "remove background" tool on Photoshop over and over and over again.
What are you listening to while writing Magasin?
Laura: Extremely embarrassing, but it's "Alexa, play calming classical on Spotify!" Or just the sounds of my parakeets.
How do you decide on a prompt or theme for a newsletter?
Laura: That freeform intro graf from the news and sales send can be the perfect, low-stakes forum for launching pet theories that have come up organically, through interacting with the fashion and shopping worlds IRL or online. But it can also be such a burden—I've had to remind myself that not every email I send out has to present some viral, industry-shattering concept, and that it's normal and OK not to have anything new to say. This industry just isn't changing that dramatically from one week to the next, nor am I experiencing such personal style whiplash to merit a new self-reflective essay at that cadence. In those cases, I shoot straight and just share the news.
What are you hunting for ~personally~ right now?
Laura: Comme Lumps and Bumps is on my forever watchlist, but I hope I never get it. Along whatever journey this is that I'm on, I've come to understand that acquiring the thing is never as rewarding as desiring it.
What’s the best steal you’ve ever scored?
Laura: My first pair of Margiela tabis were (and are! I still have them ofc) an insane pair of foldover knee boots in perfect condition that I bought on Depop from this amazing woman who works at Acne HQ in Stockholm. She sold them to me for like $200 for reasons I still don't understand...because it's not like she didn't know what she had? If she worked at Acne?
Do you ever need a break from fashion? If so, where do you typically find it?
Laura: Definitely. On the day-to-day, I'm trying to train myself to become a runner, and it's slowly working. I listen to douchey VC guy podcasts like Huberman Lab and Founders and haul my body as far as it'll go and not think about fashion once. It's also my season for going Upstate, which only works as a get-away-from-fashion thing if I go alone with just my partner. Everything in the city is too fashion, usually. Food, alcohol, apartments, art, neighborhoods. It's all fashion, and it can get exhausting.
What are 3 things on your bucket list that you have yet to do - work-wise or otherwise?
Laura: I love this question! I want to start a clothing line one day. I have such a clear image of it in my mind, and I really believe in it, I'm just waiting for the next chapter to dedicate the time and energy to it that it needs. Until then, I want an office/studio space to run the newsletter out of, but I want to get to the point where I need a studio space. And I want Annabelle Dexter-Jones to come on Magasin! I was too shy to say hi to her at a seder the other week, but someone reading this should definitely put us in touch.
What’s one thing you wish your readers knew about you?
Laura: That I find them all wildly attractive. Blatantly hot, in a superficial yet not conventional way. I objectify them every day for their good looks.