Whilst walking along the river Thames one Sunday afternoon (as you do) I stumbled upon a very unique statue. I peered closer and to my surprise it was in honour of Russia’s Peter the Great and his legendary stay in London in 1698. Coincidentally, I had just returned from a visit to Russia, and my husband studied there in 2007 so I knew a little about why there would be a statue at the entrance to Deptford Creek. Tsar Peter was on tour in Europe in 1698, and spent about four months in England, learning about shipbuilding and informally meeting dignitaries, allegedly in disguise. He would return back to Russia with enough knowledge about English shipbuilding to build and launch Russia’s first navy.
I found it really inspirational to see a statue of a man that embodied such curiosity and love of learning. For some it’s very uncomfortable to humble one’s self to ask for help. But Peter the Great is the embodiment of how it can be empowering. There is a Shona proverb that alludes to this way of thinking which is ‘if you like what someone is doing, ask them how they are doing it’. Many of us spend too much time trying to be independent and do it ourselves when it’s unnecessary. We can be independent and strong, but also need to be audacious in leaving the shores of ignorance and asking questions.
One the most important questions for me right now is ‘Who made my clothes?’ I can confidently answer that question about the top I’m wearing, because I asked. Boom Done Shop made my clothes and they remind me what it’s like to be spirited, inquisitive, avoid self-doubt, in full knowledge I’m not hurting anyone. They responsibly choose to screen print by hand on to ethical t-shirts and sweatshirts to ensure their products make don’t damage the world they take inspiration from. As adventurous consumers, our responsibility is to sail into the sea of life in search of treasures of pure mischief embodied in ethical fashion brands.
Lounging here, on the statue of a dreamer and leader, changer of the face of Russia and arguably the world, recalling stories of how much he accomplished during his journey through Europe on his own terms…leaves me hopeful that the fashion revolution too can be fun, and life changing for all who dare to sail against the current. We can all do better on our own terms whilst asking questions such as: Who made my clothes?