nzfw 2016 – jimmy d

I got to ask the witty James Dobson some questions about his collection as part of AOK at NZFW2016.  The show started with a poetry reading – the theatricality very much in keeping with the weeks quiet theme of doing things differently…

What season are you showing?

We are showing our SS17 collection and a sneak peek of next Winter. Both collections follow the same point of inspiration, so it’s essentially chapter 1 and chapter 2 if you like, and as such they style together pretty seamlessly.

What is your collection called?

Bad Feng Shui

What would you say are your influences for this collection?

I went to my first poetry reading mid last year where I met poet and writer Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle. Her work is kind of mundane, dark and a little bit funny – Jimmy D has always been about that mixture of darkness and humour, so I really connected with her and her work. Zarah herself is quite meek and shy, but her work deals a lot with sexuality and femininity, so I imagined this army of poetry girls (and boys) that are quite bookish but with this kind of internalized confidence. Zarah also really reminds me of a girl I went to high school with, so there’s quite a 90’s vibe to the collection, especially with our overdyed floral. The menswear is quite gender-bendery – I wanted the male and female characters to be this bohemian couple, and both of them would just pick clothes up off the floor and possibly wear each others clothes without a care. The title ‘Bad Feng Shui’ comes from one of Zarah’s poems.

What is/are your favourite piece/pieces from this collection?

So many!! We designed a shoe with Chaos and Harmony called the ‘Zarah’. It has a thick sole, practical Velcro straps and a harness inspired ankle strap with rivets – the perfect shoe for a poetry girl. I also really love this seasons prints, we worked with Andrew McLeod again this season and he translated ‘Bad Feng Shui’ into a kind of band tee. We also collaborated with Ruiz Stephinson, a Paris based art collective that designed a print inspired by the poisonous Nux Vomica plant (also used in homeopathy to treat erectile dysfunction amongst other things) and a text based print that reads ‘Les Fleurs du Mal” or flowers of evil – which is a collection of poetry by Baudelaire, that was banned when released for obscenity. One of my favourite womens pieces is ‘THE SOUND OF CHANGE” a mental, oversized silk dress with a giant 2 tiered ruffle sleeve and internal ties that transform it. One of my favourite mens piece came to me in a dream – I dreamt that I was staying in a hotel and walked into the lobby wearing a cropped halter neck and felt a million bucks. I don’t know if I’ll actually wear it in real life, but I think it will make a good show piece.

Who inspires you internationally?

I have a degree in photography, and I still find so much inspiration in that world – Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmans and Corinne Day are continually inspiring to me.

Who inspires you here in New Zealand?

To be honest my boyfriend inspires me, pushes me, and opens up new worlds to me. Although he said the floral would be a “real backwards step” so he’s not always right.

Fiona Pardington’s recent exhibition ‘A Beautiful Hesitation’ at the Auckland Art Gallery was super inspirational, I didn’t realise how many of her images were burnt into my memory, it reminded me why I got into the creative world and the power we have to stir things in people.

How has the industry changed over the last ten years while you have been producing?

Oh god! In so many ways!! That’s quite an epic question…. Obviously the online world has transformed fashion completely, ten years ago the fashion world in New Zealand was quite insular. I think this was good in some respects as we really had our own strong identity, aesthetic and loyalty – we’re now really conscious about how we fit into fashion in a more global sense, and as such there’s also a lot more competition.

Years ago I may have once called you the ‘bastard child of Zambesi and nom*D’ but you are now very much your own designer – what would you say are your design hallmarks?

Darkness, humour, and a desire to shake things up.


Editors notes

Im not sure what to say about a label that I pretty much wear every day without sounding sycophantic but…

Best collaboration of the week with Chaos and Harmony “Zarah” shoe made especially for this show…

I want all the organza – but especially the over sized bomber jacket

All the frills – and as mentioned by James – especially The Sound of Change dress with its cascading frills

I definitely need the Four Walls oversized leather clutch which could hold simply everything a human may need for any emergency (actually I may even have it already it is that fabulous).  James also put in a second bag, the crazy frilled Book Club

Must also have the Les Fleurs du Mal oversized tee

And the super wide legged Dark Recline pant – oh I am going to be so broke…

Photographs by Michelle Weir – find her at Studio Weir


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