The High Sheriff of Nottingham was so impressed by fashion designer Michael Wallace at a Dragons’ Den style contest that she has asked him to make her a dress.
Michael Wallace, 26, from Ilkeston, was a winner at the event at the University of Nottingham, where judges, including the High Sheriff of Nottingham, Judy Naake, labelled him ‘the next Paul Smith’.
Michael, who has how own label House of Michael Wallace, has already seen his designs hit the catwalk, including at LA Fashion Week. This week he was presented with his £3,000 prize, at Equator on the Lace Market. He plans to spend the money it on premises, promotion and a look book for his latest couture collection.
Like the television programme Michael had to do a pitch in front of the seven ‘angels’, all top business women.
He said: “In the presentation I concentrated on what’s been going on in the past couple of years and focused on areas where I wanted to use the money. They asked where I see myself in five years and I said I want to take on staff and open a shop, ideally in the Lace Market or Nottingham city centre.”
Michael took four models with him who showcased six different looks from his new collection. He even took his own doorstops to make sure the models could walk in and out the room with ease.
He said: “I walked out of the presentation thinking it couldn’t have gone any better. I could tell by their reaction to the models and the fashion show that they were blown away.
“I was telling the judges about the wedding dresses I make and about the time I sewed my grandma’s name into my cousin’s wedding dress.
“Now the High Sheriff of Nottingham wants me to make her a dress.”
Of eight entrepreneurs who pitched to the panel, three were awarded grants.
The judges described Michael as a ‘charming young man’ with ‘flair’. The designer has a studio at Maltby Mill in Ilkeston and plans to hold a fashion show there this year.