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Fashionable donation for Museum

Rakel Blomsterberg 10

Media release – 19 January 2021

Fashionable donation for Museum

A striking donation from an award-winning fashion designer has extended the exhilaration of Fashion Forward>> Disruption through Design past the exhibition’s close date.

Rakel Blomsterberg was the first Otago Polytechnic graduate to win the iD International Emerging Designer Award. Her 2013 collection, ‘The World Through My Eyes’, consisted of outfits celebrating five different continents, and was inspired by her love of travel. Judges called it ‘eclectic and joyful, sleek, chic and professional, with intricate detailing and true depth.’

“I have been asked numerous times to sell it, but it never felt like it was right”, Ms Blomsterberg said of her recently-donated ‘Miss South America’. Otago Museum is enormously grateful that she has chosen their institution as to its permanent home.

In the ensemble, Ms Blomsterberg utilised colourful prints associated with popular culture in a collage of images that include the immense Christ the Redeemer statue in the city of Rio de Janeiro, the Argentinian comic strip character, Mafaldo, the Brazilian singer, samba dancer and actor, Carmen Miranda, morpho butterflies and macaws, Pablo Escobar and Eva Perón. It was displayed in the Escapism section of Fashion Forward.

Ms Blomsterberg’s gift follows an earlier generous donation from Paúl Castro Alvarez, the 2017 iD International Emerging Designer Awards third place winner. The garment from Mr Castro Alvarez’s ‘Amassment’ collection, was displayed in the Reinterpretation section of Fashion Forward. Inspired by the design principle that one everyday item is banal but combined multiples of everyday objects can be compelling, Paul upcycled and transformed unsold or ‘dead’ stock into voluminous critical masses that became aesthetically beautiful. The donated piece was made from eight men’s shirts, transformed in a dress that is flowing and ethereal.

“‘Amassment’ reflects a critical view of our throwaway society and the wasteful trends in contemporary fashion. It aims to break the life cycle of deadstock garments and reinsert them into the commercial environment, by adding value through design”, said Craig Scott, Otago Museum’s Head of Exhibitions and Creative Services.

“This is just so exciting for Otago Museum, these pieces were two of my favourites, and I think were ones that visitors really connected with. From Ms Blomsterberg’s vibrant, fun garment, to Mr Castro Alvarez’s that is simply elegant – I am just delighted”, said Moira White, Otago Museum’s Curator, Humanities.

The two pieces are now in the Museum’s permanent collection, and curation and exhibition staff are deciding when and how they will go on display again. “We are overwhelmed by the designers’ generosity”, said Ms White.


For more information contact
Moira White, Curator, Humanities
03 479 3265