Kevin McLaughlin is the creative force behind the impeccably designed clothing and accessories at J.McLaughlin. He credits his mother with instilling a reverence for quality - she insisted on hand-embroidering his father’s monogram on his braces and hand-knitting his cashmere sweaters. After graduating with an Economics degree from Siena College, he returned to Manhattan to work at a traditional men’s clothier. In the late seventies when Kevin and his brother opened their first shop on 74th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan, it immediately became the post-brunch destination for the Ivy League JG Melon crowd. “Downtown hadn’t even happened yet,” he says. “It was the era of Annie Hall menswear and a major preppie revival. When Dustin Hoffman came in to be fitted for Kramer vs. Kramer, I figured the worst was behind us.”
Kevin’s taste and design sense have guided the J.McLaughlin collections since the first store opened. Each season he introduces new pieces that clients regard as instant icons: an amusing new hand-embroidered detail on crisp cotton swim trunks or a fresh and sassy variation on a traditional Glen Plaid skirt.
Multi-branding pioneers, Kevin and Jay opened Manhattan’s Island Restaurant in 1986. Decorated with nautical flags and sailboat paintings, it is still a perfect destination for the tribe that wears their clothes. He recently collaborated with Doug Larson of Larson & Paul (longtime store architect and design consultant for the brand) on the construction of a modernist farmhouse and family compound in Sag Harbor.
Kevin and his wife Barbara reside in Manhattan where his favorite weekends are spent trolling vintage boutiques and estate sales.