The bar is very low when it comes to magazine marketing. There are a number of promotional agencies around, but I’m not sure what they do. No third party ever contacts us here at Magalleria to tell us about a new magazine, or hardly ever. Not like book marketing, where a staggering number of daily media stories can be traced to a blitz of publisher press releases pumped out to under-resourced newsrooms and agencies who eagerly snaffle and re-pedal them to you and me.
Magazine makers themselves and their distributors regularly inform us about forthcoming titles which is necessary and appreciated, but it’s not sophisticated marketing and more the point it’s not big picture stuff. It’s hard to know where to get that. Without social media and a few hardworking, evangelising operators like STACK or MagCulture we wouldn’t know anything. There have been radio shows and podcasts, but these tend to feature the same people talking about the same magazines and who seem fixated on editorial design.
I mention all of this because we see so many great magazines going under the radar. These are, in the main, international magazines, and we’re talking mostly fashion. They dominate in our shop favourites, like the utterly wonderful Please and Revue Magazine (Conversations and èsthetiques) from France which are barely spoken about and totally unfamiliar to our customers. A degree of reticence is understandable when magazines are written in a language other than English. Yet we’ve long admired North American magazines and here the lack of promotion is even more disappointing. We import a lot of magazines from the States that would be otherwise available in the UK that really do offer something that’s missing on the publishing spectrum.
So let’s mention a few. We’ve stocked Brooklyn’s Tidal since we were tipped to it in 2015 and we’re amazed that such a savvy, fresh and well-connected magazine is unknown here. Same goes for the more avowedly experimental Riot of Perfume. I thought the cover of the tenth issue was one of 2018’s best, easily outstripping more strained efforts of the big names in the art/fashion/cultural canon. We think Hearts is a curatorial masterpiece, although wilfully obscure (and an anagram of Hearst, so don’t bother Googling). We’ve had to double our subscription to the brave Unconditional. We adore Claire Rothstein’s unfashionably sleek Girls. Girls. Girls.
Most recently we’ve fallen in love with The Unseasonal, a coolly gorgeous magazine that exudes a real sense of ‘grown-upness’, a quality in inherent in nearly all the titles just mentioned. While providing a glimpse of celebrity culture, a sort of celestial sphere or Never-Never land of super models, fashion designers, auteurs, film stars, LA tennis courts and poolside parties – a glacial and distanced environment to anyone on the outside looking in – The Unseasonal moves beyond it. It brings warmth to the remoteness and even a sense of place. It makes the iconic more humane. I wouldn’t say there’s specific depth to the articles here but they harness some deft storytelling and sumptuous photography to provide a well-judged ride with a discerning selection of known and lesser-known personalities. Published by award-winning Austrian photographer and creative director Ger Ger, this beautifully-imagined and made-with-love 272-page design jewel is as sophisticated and enjoyable as it looks.
But other than us there’s hardly anyone to tell you about it.