Designer grateful for opportunities

Rakel Blomsterberg
Rakel Blomsterberg
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 getting into.''

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 Week.

''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.''

john.gibb@odt.co.nz