STUDENT fashion designer Patrick McDowell was a celebrity guest at a charity fashion event in Liverpool’s Metquarter.
The 17-year-old textiles student from St Mary’s Catholic College, in Wallasey, became a nationally-known figure after winning Lord Sugar’s praise as a finalist in the last series of BBC’s Young Apprentice.
The Liverpool city centre event, Spring Into Style, was hosted by Radio City DJ Pete Price and also featured Britain’s Got Talent finalists, boy band The Mend and a professional catwalk show and performances by Jennifer Ellison’s Fame Academy.
Patrick rolled out some of his own latest designs on the catwalk and the shirt he wore was a Patrick McDowell original. He was also the celebrity judge in a young fashion designer competition.
For the rest of the evening, he ran a designer stall, selling his own clothes creations as well as peacock feather and pearl-studded clutch bags, which proved popular with passing shoppers.
Patrick, of Greasby, now has his own fashion label and personally wraps every purchase with tissue paper and ribbon. He has found a ready market for his bags, particularly in the greater community of St Mary’s. He sold out all his stock in minutes at a recent school fair, eventually tearing up a piece of cloth and selling his autograph to raise money for charity.
He said: “At the moment, as well as designing, I also sew everything myself. I love doing it, but it takes so much time so now I am looking into the possibility of going into bigger production.”
Lord Sugar memorably commented on Young Apprentice that in future he expected to be hearing a lot more about Patrick McDowell the designer.
Patrick makes no secret of his ambitions to one day dress the biggest names: “I would like to dress Kate Middleton, the French actress Audrey Tautou and Keira Knightley. ”
But his more immediate ambition is to win a place at the internationally renowned Central Saint Martin’s College of the Arts, London, when he finishes his studies at St Mary’s next year. His art teacher Ali McWatt, who herself once designed hats for Harrods and Barney’s in New York, thinks he has what it takes. She said: “Patrick is incredibly talented and very dedicated. He works constantly on his designs and is a natural working with textiles. We are very proud of him.”
The annual Spring Into Style event was sponsored by Liverpool law firm Hill Dickinson.
Money raised will support the Prince’s Trust Fairbridge Programme, which helps disadvantaged young people.