Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
It wasn't my dream magazine, and I knew very little about it. But it was a way of getting into publishing and out of PR. I thought it would be a stepping stone, a brief blip on my resumé that would soon be crowded out by bigger, more illustrious gigs. I stayed for three years, shows what little I knew about hopping titles.
It wasn't easy being on the online team of a shopping magazine at a time when e-commerce and digital were ascendant.
In those three years, I learned pretty much everything you could possibly learn about the magazine industry: I saw editors-in-chief come and go, was threatened by all that Conde Elevator bullshit, and witnessed countless product launches, relaunches, and straight-up surgery on LuckyMag.com. My job changed quite a bit in the time I was there, but my original task was to run social media and help build their now defunct network of bloggers. Our mission on the site was to help people find their own style. That may sound trite and completely clichéd, but it was Lucky's goal from the get-go, and it's what we were good at. Whether you think it got better or worse at it over time is up to you.
In an industry full of skin-deep interactions, Lucky had a refreshingly chill staff. We knew exactly what we were about and wanted to help people find the clothing they'd love to wear. Brandon Holley, a previous editor-in-chief of the magazine, used to put it like this: "When you tell some people you like their coat, they nod and say thanks. When you tell a Lucky person, they tell you where they got it from, how you can get it, why it's great, and everything you can do with it." That's what our small, weird part of the staff, the web team, attempted to do on a daily basis.
It wasn't easy being on the online team of a shopping magazine at a time when e-commerce and digital were ascendant. It was a challenge, exacerbated by the constant rumors in the New York Post, the Daily News, Fashionista, everywhere, that we'd soon be shuttered or or go full digital, or be spun into a vortex of death. There were many attempts to bring the ease of online shopping into the content we were creating, but the technology wasn't there. The merge with e-commerce company Beachmint would eventually achieve that in some form, but obviously, it didn't work out.
It's a challenge that every magazine will have to face. Lucky just happened to be on a quicker trajectory because of its original message and shop-now! method. But there's not a publication around today that isn't thinking on their feet and investing in the web. What's depressing is that Lucky probably won't be the last fashion magazine to fall. Everybody is on the hunt for the perfect marriage of commerce and magazine editorial, and nobody has really nailed it yet. Ironically, only time will tell if that's a communion we really want.
We did some strange and fun stuff while I was there, partly because nobody was really watching at first.
For now, Lucky is gone and that's a bummer. We did some strange and fun stuff while I was there, partly because nobody was really watching at first and partly because it was the web. Sure, there were the requisite "40 Pairs of Shoes You Totally Like Need Right Now" slideshows. But there was more to it than that. Ray Siegel, who went on to work at Nylon and is now at CR Fashion Book, wrote a story about how sex-glow got her a free iPhone. I put together a ridiculous piece about the rise and fall of fashion bloggers, complete with a "fading from relevance" badge. Maura Brannigan wrote a powerful post about what she learned from a breast cancer scare. We had a smart and ever-changing team, with great ideas.
There are plenty of moments I won't forget. I'll miss the daily coffee meetings with editors where we'd just bullshit until it was time for actual work. There was the time that Eva Chen made me dress up like Peeta from The Hunger Games ... and Jay Gatsby, and Clyde from Bonnie and Clyde, and Damian from Mean Girls (a picture of which hangs at my desk now). There's the holiday party that remains one of the latest, weirdest, and most fun nights of my time in New York City. (Seriously, Lucky? Who knew?) And that just scratches the surface.
Sometime after I left Lucky for my current job at GQ, I dropped some laundry off at my dry cleaner, which has a partnership with the Bowery Mission. In front of me was a homeless guy who was carrying a giant tote from the Lucky FABB conference with the Lucky logo stitched on it. He'd taken a sharpie to the front of it and added "Un." Dark, sad, and as it turns out, prophetic.