Stephen Mc Laughlin is a London based Irish womenswear fashion designer. Founder of SML London, a contemporary womenswear brand, his philosophy at SML is to design a brand with considered and accomplished shapes and drapes, a brand irrespective of age, designing distinctive and timeless silhouettes with an ode to elegance and class. Designed with (almost) zero-waste sustainable manufacturing platforms & by crafting everything to order, he eliminates the need for excess stock.
A graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD), during his time in Limerick, Stephen completed various internships with Una Rodden, House of Holland and Marques Almeida in London. After graduating, Stephen returned to London to join the team at Sharon Wauchob and since then he has worked for various luxury brands, designing ready-to-wear and accessories at J&M Davidson, Studio Nicholson and Scotria before progressing to launch his own label SML London.
Stephen competed in Junk Kouture back in 2010 with his classmates from Carndonagh Community School, Co.Donegal. He was awarded the Glamour Prize that year and his design was showcased at the Royal Film Premiere of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo in London. Stephen returned in 2015 as the southern regional student judge and will make his 4th appearance as a main judge on the 2021 judging panel alongside, Michelle Visage, Louis Walsh, and Roz Purcell.
He believes that Junk Kouture was the foundation in starting his career in design – “I’m delighted to be joining the panel for its 11th year. The student’s designs cover everything from race to gender to sustainability. They’re innovative and joyful, and their formal divergences encapsulate the variety of what’s possible in Ireland fora young designer. Each designer, in their different ways, step up a gear each year and consolidate their position as the brightest of their generation. I would advise anyone who has any interest in art and design to get involved as the competition is the perfect steppingstone to jump start your career.”