Fashion designer

Meet the Irish fashion designer taking London by storm


Everyone was talking about Vogue Williams as she led the Irish stars at this year’s Pride of Britain Awards.

Williams looked classy as she turned heads in a green satin gown from SML London, a label founded by Irish designer Stephen McLaughlin.

McLaughlin first burst onto the scene when he competed in Junk Kouture in 2010, along with his classmates at Carndonagh Community School in County Donegal.

Vogue Williams wearing an SML London dress on the red carpet at the Pride of Britain Awards on Saturday night. Photo: David Fisher / REX / Shutterstock

It received the Glamor Award that year and its design was presented at the royal premiere of Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo in London.

He then returned in 2015 as a Southern Region student judge and will make his fourth appearance as the 2021 Junk Kouture Senior Jury Judge alongside Michelle Visage, Louis Walsh and Roz Purcell.

Stephen credits Junk Kouture as the foundation for starting his design career and said, “I am delighted to be joining the panel for its 11th year. The students’ designs cover everything from race to gender to sustainability.

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Stephen McLaughlin at the World Premiere of “Waking the Muse” by Junk Kouture, supported by Creative Ireland, at the Savoy Cinema, Dublin. Photo: Brian McEvoy / PIP

They are innovative and cheerful, and their formal differences sum up the variety of what is possible in Ireland for a young designer.

Each creator, in his own way, shifts into high gear each year and consolidates his position as the brightest of his generation. I would advise anyone interested in art and design to get involved as the competition is the perfect springboard to start your career. ‘

He is also a graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) and while in Limerick Stephen did various internships with Una Rodden, House of Holland and Marques Almeida in London.

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Stephen McLaughlin with fellow Junk Kouture judges Roz Purcell, Louis Walsh and Michelle Visage. Photo: Brian McEvoy

After graduating Stephen returned to London to join Sharon Wauchob’s team and since then has worked for various luxury brands, designing ready-to-wear and accessories at J&M Davidson, Studio Nicholson and Scotria. before launching his own label SML London. .

SML London’s story began in 2020 with an idea at Kings Cross Station in London at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SML London is a contemporary women’s clothing brand and Stephen’s philosophy is to design a brand with thoughtful and accomplished shapes and drapes, a brand for all ages, designing distinctive and timeless silhouettes with an ode to the elegance and class.

Vogue Williams praised the “incredibly talented” Stephen McLaughlin and said he was a “design wizard”. Photo: David Fisher / REX / Shutterstock

Designed with durable (almost) zero waste manufacturing platforms and making everything to order, it eliminates the need for excess stock.

Roz Purcell was recently spotted donning SML London’s Jane dress.

On Saturday night, Vogue Williams walked the red carpet at the Pride of Britain Awards in a maxi dress customized by SML London.

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Stephen McLaughlin with Roz Purcell, wearing one of his SML London designs. Photo: Brian McEvoy

The Big Deal host praised the “incredibly talented” Stephen McLaughlin and said he was a “design wizard.”

Vogue went on to say that she was “in love with everything he does.”

Looks like the sky is the limit for Stephen who seems to be getting better and better!


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