As Rosella May waited to accept a well-deserved first class honours degree in Fashion Knitwear and Knitted Textiles in front of her proud family, she found herself in a spin.

It wasn’t that her cap and gown didn’t fit or that nerves had set in – it was because, as she waited to graduate, she was offered a dream job by one of the world’s leading fashion design houses.

Iconic brand Calvin Klein was on the telephone asking her to join their team based on her innovative collection of denim knitwear that she had designed and made from scratch as part of her degree.

“The whole thing was surreal,” said Rosella, 23, who lives in Great Corby, near Carlisle. “When I was literally about to stand up and graduate, they called to say I had got the job.

“I had to say, ‘Ok, that’s great but I’ve really got to go because I am just about to go up and get my degree’.”

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Rosella, who will relocate to Amsterdam in the autumn, where Calvin Klein’s Europe office is based, to take up her position as a denim team assistant.

Before then she has a three-month residency in Indonesia to look forward to, after she was chosen as one of two winners to receive the prestigious Graduate Fashion Week International Residency Award. This gives up-and-coming talent the chance to collaborate with designers and craftspeople in a country with an emerging fashion industry.

The award, backed by the British Council, means Rosella will go to Indonesia next week where she will be given the opportunity to work with design house SOE Jakarta to produce a capsule collection to show at Jakarta Fashion Week 2017. Her work will also be exhibited in China at SpinExpo in September.

Rosella, who honed her skills at Nottingham Trent University, came up with a stunning collection of six androgynous knitted denim outfits based on male styles of the 1950s alongside contemporary fashion shapes. But first she came up with a unique way of knitting a denim fabric.

Recognising her outstanding talent, Rosella’s tutors selected her collection for Graduate Fashion Week earlier this year. From there she was scouted by Calvin Klein, as well as Oasis, Debenhams and Marks and Spencer.

“I never expected any of this,” said Rosella, who went to Hayton Primary School and then William Howard Secondary School in Brampton. “It is a dream scenario for me.”

Rosella had been studying A Level maths and science at William Howard when she realised her heart wasn’t in it. She transferred to Carlisle College to take up a foundation course in art and design before moving on to Nottingham Trent University, where initially she studied costume design.

“I’d studied textiles at William Howard and all of my work was quite textile based, so I moved to textile design to find my feet again and from there I moved in to fashion knitwear.

“My mum and grandma had always made some of their own clothes so it was natural move for me,” she added.

The next few months promise to be very exciting for Rosella who admits to being a little nervous and under pressure to perform. But, she wouldn’t have things any other way.

“It is a bit daunting, especially going to Indonesia where I won’t know anyone and won’t have my family around me,” she said.

“They have been such a great support so I think it is going to be hard but I am aware of what a great opportunity I have been given and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Sendy and Monique Soeriaatmadja, owners of SOE Jakata, said: “We are thrilled to be chosen as one of the labels for The British Council’s residency programme.

“By collaborating with Rosella, a textile-focused fashion graduate from the UK, we hope to be able to learn and grow from an intercultural exchange of ideas and perspectives.

“We sincerely hope the programme will foster a strong relation between our countries, as well as supporting a flourishing industry. Rosella’s intriguing and outstanding perspective on fashion and fabrics is one we cannot wait to learn.”