MAGILL Los Angeles
Earlier this month, we stumbled upon Todd Magill’s clothing brand, Magill Los Angeles. We were immediately impressed by the brand’s unique preppy aesthetic, in addition to its sustainable business model. Naturally, we contacted him to do a featured article. We hope you enjoy learning about this LA-based brand as much as we did.
Introduce yourself: What is your name? Where are you from? And what is your background?
My name is Todd Magill, the owner and founder of MAGILL Los Angeles. I grew up in New York. I studied Fashion Design at F.I.T. in Manhattan, starting with weekend classes at the age of 16. I had my "big-break" after showing a small collection to Tommy Hilfiger. He was impressed and ended up hiring me on the design team for his first-ever women's collection. After that, I went on to Ralph Lauren for three years, then spent a couple of years in Italy at Iceberg. In 2000, I moved to Los Angeles. Here in LA, I worked for Mossimo where we launched his brand at Target. After that, I had my first solo brand, WYETH, that sold at places including Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Nordstrom. After the 2008 financial crisis, that ended and I moved back East and was hired as the Executive Design Director for Anthropologie, where I stayed for three years. After Anthropologie, I took a job as Senior Design Director for Jack Spade where I happily shifted my focus to Menswear.
What is the origin story of MAGILL LA? Where does the name come from? When did the brand start?
The name MAGILL is my surname. I wanted to honor my family, and I always thought MAGILL was a solid brand name. After many years working for corporate brands, I got burned out and started to become disheartened with the pace of corporate culture and how much stuff we were designing and producing over and over again. I also felt like I never had time for myself and leading big design teams can really drain you. I decided I wanted to live with less and the payback was having more personal time and space to live on my own terms. So, in the fall of 2016, I resigned from Jack Spade and I subleased my apartment in New York and took a year off and moved back to LA. I spent the year studying meditation, pottery, and reconnecting with friends. This gave me the time to think about what was next. I didn't want to throw away all my years of experience, so I arrived at starting my own brand, producing it all in LA, and being super thoughtful about what and how much I was putting out there.
What are three things, above all else, you want people to know about your brand?
Everything is responsibly made in LA. I truly believe in a slower, smaller way of doing business with less impact on the environment. I refer to it as "Slow Fashion," which means that you are making responsible decisions and not manufacturing a bunch of stuff. I run the brand myself and design everything myself, and I collaborate with friends on the imagery and photography. Together, we make sure that the garments we make are honest, high quality, and worth the price.
What are the details about MAGILL LA’s most recent collection?
I was inspired by the idea of "Modern Preppy." I have always loved the optimistic spirit of preppy dressing. Having fun with color and the mix of dressed up and casual. I want things to be familiar and easy to wear. This season, I took my best selling styles the Rugby, Polo, and Pleated Chinos and updated them in new tie-dye patterns and colors. I really love color and its ability to lift your spirits. I think we could all use that right now. Your clothing is your armor and can really affect your mood.
What inspired the items in this collection?
I think about what I want to wear and then play around with color and pattern. My customer has really responded to tie-dye this season, so I had fun playing around with tie-dye in different ways.
Who/what are some influences for MAGILL LA?
Having worked at Tommy, Ralph, and Jack Spade has had a lasting impact on my taste and influences. I really love classic casual preppy menswear twisted with a sport influence. I like things to be real and wearable. Having lived back and forth between the East Coast and West Coast also has a strong influence on what I design. East Coast Cool versus West Coast Chill.
What are some things that make MAGILL LA special?
It's really important to me that I am fair in my pricing, and I hope that it resonates with the customer. I make small batches of each style, and once they sell out, they are gone. It's satisfying to know I am not over producing and wasting resources. It's also cool for the customer to know they are not wearing something that is mass-produced and is more unique to them.
I am intimately designing the product and overseeing the production myself. I like to have a personal interaction with my customers. I always include a handwritten thank you note with each order and follow up with an email to make sure they are happy with what they purchased. I love to get feedback, so it's cool when someone DMs me and we chat for a bit.
Lastly, I hope to always convey a spirit of optimism, positivity, and inclusiveness in the images and clothing that I put out in the world.
What are five adjectives you would use to describe MAGILL LA?
Optimistic, Irreverent, Colorful, Dependable, and Mindful.
Would MAGILL LA ever collaborate with other lifestyle brands? If so, what other brands would you be interested in working with?
Bigger brands I would love to work with are Nike and Sperry. Smaller brands I love are Quaker Marine, and I love what Chet Cannon is doing on his Instagram feed "Preps not Dead." I plan to do more collaborations with artist friends. I recently did a fun project with my friend Mary Matson. She took a bunch of MAGILL oxford shirts and painted directly onto the shirts, taking inspiration from Venice Beach where she lives and works. We are calling them the "lucky charms" collection. And I am doing a tote bag collaboration with my friends at Nickey Kehoe x Steele Canvas. They will be available on the web-shop this fall.
What can we expect from MAGILL LA in the future?
My hope is to increase my following and customer base and have a thriving online business. Once things settle down in the world, I would love to experiment with pop-up shops and eventually open a small brick and mortar shop here in LA and continue to keep things small and manageable. I believe that we can live with less, do what we love, and don't have to always aim to be huge. It's good to slow down and breathe. Now, more than ever, that feels like the right way to exist.
MAGILL LA Website:
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