Icelandic fashion designer Rakel Blomsterberg (26) never
dreamed she would have so many design opportunities when she
began her Otago Polytechnic studies three years ago.
''It's been really good. I didn't really know what I was
And she will be one of a record group of about 500 people to
graduate in person from the polytechnic in a ceremony at the
Regent Theatre, Dunedin, at 3pm, today.
Ms Blomsterberg, who is graduating with the bachelor of
design (fashion) degree, with distinction, is keen on travel,
and had been happy to head south from her native Iceland.
''New Zealand was quite high on my list of countries I wanted
to travel to.''
She had subsequently discovered Dunedin on the internet, and
has had absolutely no regrets about choosing either that city
or Otago Polytechnic.
She had met ''heaps of friends'' through her studies and had
never before achieved such high academic grades.
And she had gained them simply by pursuing the fashion design
work she loved.
And, in October, the surprises kept coming when she made her
international fashion debut, by travelling to China, as part
of an exchange programme.
There she took part in Shanghai Fashion Week, involving
Dunedin's Chinese sister city. She was able to show three of
her own fashion garments, and see her work being compared
with that of leading young fashion designers from Shanghai.
''It was crazy. I never imagined showing at Shanghai Fashion
''That was amazing, being compared with students like that
was really great.''
Another highlight was having a ''proper fashion shoot'',
using her garments in Chinese locations, thanks to an
accompanying New Zealand photographer.
And she is also one of several Otago Polytechnic student
fashion designers who have been invited to exhibit some of
their garments at next year's iD Dunedin Fashion Week.
She will be leaving for Europe later this month, but Dunedin
has grown on her and she will be back in March to take part
in fashion week.
Ms Blomsterberg married Eirekur Ragnarsson in the city last
year, and had found plenty to enjoy there.
''It's a special place.''