The lavish life of the 'preppiest man on Instagram' who travels the world staying at private clubs and multi-million dollar estates while always remaining perfectly dressed
Kiel James Patrick, 33, has accumulated nearly half a million followers on Instagram by posting perfectly styled photos of his life
The Instagram star has been compared to a 'young Ralph Lauren' by adoring fans
Though he seems to lead a life of leisure, he works hard running a clothing line and maintaining brand partnerships
Many of his trips are sponsored by companies such as Brooks Brothers
By TAYLOR LORENZ FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 21:34, 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 23:27, 15 January 2016
A quick glance through Kiel James Patrick’s Instagram account reveals a seemingly endless stream of luxury ski weekends, black tie parties, vintage sports cars, and multi-million dollar estates.
While many Instagrammers struggle to find the perfect filter for their morning coffee, Patrick, 33, his wife Sarah Vickers, and a group of flawlessly dressed acolytes pose casually on yachts or in the halls of elite hotels like the Waldorf Astoria, while documenting their adventures on social media.
Patrick is known to many as the king of ‘#prepstagram’ but though his photos appear to document a life of leisure, brand partnerships and running his namesake clothing line, Kiel James Patrick, are what actually facilitates his adventures.
Patrick tells DailyMail.com that he always loved vintage, classic American clothing. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that he began making his own. He began his company in his parents garage selling rope bracelets to local vendors.
The Warwick, Rhode Island native soon discovered that he had a knack for design and his hand-made bracelets and belts became popular among well-heeled customers.
In mid-2010 he joined Instagram declaring, ‘I will honor my calling and trust in my heart, that my American made goods will inspire others American Dream. Get ready to anchor yourself to my American Dream,' while sharing an image of his rope bracelets.
He began documenting his picturesque New England lifestyle full of tennis matches and afternoons on the beach. As his images became more and more popular on his Instagram account, so too did his apparel brand.
Patrick's line has since expanded to include men’s and women’s apparel, jewelry, accessories, and even boat shoes.
These days Patrick and Vickers, who runs the popular blog Classy Girls Wear Pearls, can hardly walk the streets of Nantucket without being mobbed by adoring fans and their website used to frequently crash by deluges of orders.
Brands like Pottery Barn, Brooks Brothers, Vineyard Vines, Starbucks, and L.L. Bean are clamoring to work with the duo and they are often sent on lavish vacations to Japan, Italy, and Canada on behalf of brands and hotels eager to be featured in their photos.
‘We’re working during the day, but we’re also living in New England and enjoying New England and showing the simple pleasures of New England life,’ Patrick explains. ‘I think people like to see inside that world.’
Real Estate companies have also been desperate to partner with Patrick and his crew in hopes that their mansions might be featured in his Instagram feed.
They are now exclusive partners with Lila Delman in Newport, RI, who has close to 2,000 listings that the group has access to, provided they document the adventures on their feed.
Patrick and Vickers aren’t simply limited to rental homes either, they have partnered with hotels chains such as the Four Seasons and several high end restaurants up and down the eastern seaboard.
‘So far it’s been really successful,’ Patrick explains. ‘Hotels will say, "Guys this is really great, you’re welcome to stay here anytime you want. Because of you, so many people have been calling up and making reservations at the hotel."’
‘It’s almost like we’ve become a New England tourism group,’ he says. ‘It’s great for us because our message has always been to help our neighbors in Rhode Island.’
Though their products are all 100 per cent American made, Patrick’s Instagram account has garnered a fair share of international attention.
‘We went out to Japan with Brooks Brothers and did some events and I couldn’t believe how much attention we got.’ He says that they were treated like celebrities, with swarms of reporters asking them questions and people hosting events and parties in their honor.
‘When Japan gets hooked on something, they really go nuts. It was absolutely wild.’
‘It was a wake-up call for us because we realized, wow, the rest of the world really loves New England.’ After trending in Japan, Patrick's Instagram account and bracelets have become big in China, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.
Around the globe and back: Brands like Brooks Brothers and the Four Seasons have sent Patrick on stunning vacations around the world
The prep crew has even gone viral in Dubai.
‘One day I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and looking at my tags. I see there are preppy girls, preppy guys, this guy is in Nantucket, this guy is in Cape Cod, then all of a sudden a guy pops up, and he was holding a baby albino tiger, standing in front of a car that I can’t even pronounce, covered in our bracelets,' Patrick recalls.
It turns out the man was a beloved prince, and within 24 hours the Kiel James Patrick store was completely swamped with hundreds of orders from the Middle East. ‘We basically became a trend there for a solid three months,’ he explains.
It’s not hard to imagine that more traditionally-minded New Englanders might deem Patrick’s drive for social media success ostentatious, yet Patrick says that he’s even been able to win over many in the old guard.
‘There’s definitely an older generation that’s initially not so keen to it,’ he says. ‘But to be honest, they end up looking at our photos and realize that we’re actually doing something pretty classic.’
‘They look at our pictures or something like a classic lobster bake and playing horseshoes in the yard and say, “Hey! I used to do that.”’
‘We make an effort to add nostalgia into our images of classic New England living in hopes that we can appeal to all generations.’
‘It’s kind of cool that I can put pictures up from my youth, and I’m wearing almost the same thing as I’m wearing today.’
‘I don’t see too many other photos on Instagram that you can look at and say, wow, this photo could have been taken at any point in the last 40 years.’
These old-timey photos however, can sometimes be criticized as too staged. Patrick brushes these comments off. ‘When people say, “Oh this isn’t real life” I’m like, well, when anybody goes out on vacation with friends or family they all do poses for family pictures! There’s nothing better to me than looking through old family albums and Instagram is a modern day version of that.’
Like many family albums, Patrick and Vickers’ Instagram accounts appear to only capture the good times. Though they may spend nights slaving away at work, their photos undeniably project a life of leisure filled with fancy trips.
But even though most of his images give off the air of extreme luxury, Patrick says that he and Vickers make a concerted effort not to be too over the top. ‘I mean, our wedding was literally at a Christmas tree farm that we organized ourselves,’ he says.
‘I don’t really put us in the same group as those “Rich Kids of Instagram” type of accounts. For us, there’s a little bit of heart behind every picture and I think people can see that.’
‘We just try to be original. That originality will always overcome people who are overspending. It’s quality over price,’ he says. ‘ We try to stay true to that in everything we do.’
And though their friend group may include several blueblooded members, like former intern Erick Dent (a descendant of Ulysses S. Grant), Patrick and Vickers go to extreme efforts to be inclusive.
They recruit interns from all over the country and enjoy bringing outsiders into their mystifying world. ‘We love bringing people in who are more diverse or come from different financial backgrounds. It adds a really valuable new dimension to the brand,’ he says.
Those lucky enough to be accepted into the Kiel James Patrick internship program (called ‘Adventure School)’, are treated to free housing, clothes, and entertainment, for the whole summer. Patrick even rents Instagram-friendly antique cars for interns to cruise around in so they don’t have to worry about transportation costs.
For some, like former Kiel James Patrick Assistant Creative Director and current college student, Sean Burke, adjusting to normal life after the KJP whirlwind can be somewhat jarring.
Burke met Patrick at a Gatsby-themed gala at the Ritz in Boston and soon took a year off to work for the company. However, he has now returned to college and is even running for class president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York.
‘Working for KJP was an amazing experience,’ he says. Now that he has returned to school he plans to continue to document his adventures, though they may not be quite as scenic.
‘I’m still going to post a lot of boat photos and weekends trips,’ he says. ‘You’re not going to see a bunch of red solo cups on my feed.’