House of Dowse x Jimmy D

Mar 30 2024 – Mar 30 2025

The House of Dowse x Jimmy D is a unique celebration of The Dowse art collection through the eyes of James Dobson, acclaimed designer behind the cult fashion label Jimmy D. James was raised in the Hutt Valley, a place which helped shape the grungy suburban glamour and wry humour that are the cornerstones of the Jimmy D brand. One of his earliest collections was even called ‘Right Up My Hutt Valley’—a tribute to the Hutt’s memorable city slogan from the mid-1990s.

For The House of Dowse x Jimmy D, we invited James to re-explore the museum collection he grew up with. Pairing unexpected delights from The Dowse collection with iconic looks from the Jimmy D archive, this exhibition explores the creative influences and absurdist sensibility behind his design approach. Drawn particularly to photography, queer artists and contrasting forms within The Dowse collection, James has selected artworks that playfully reflect different aspects of Jimmy D—from suburban dreamer to dark debauchery to unconventional surrealist.

As James has described: “It takes guts to live outside the beige norm. I work in contrasts; I like to imagine a collision of worlds.” The House of Dowse x Jimmy D takes this point of view as its starting point, honouring artists who, like James, chose to step outside the mundane to imagine something a little stranger and more interesting. Inviting you into Jimmy D’s world through The Dowse collection, this exhibition tells a story about the things and the places that shape our creativity.

Jimmy DJames Dobson, fashion designer and founder of Jimmy D. Photo by David James.