I have always been told by those in the know, that whenever starting your own brand, focus on something you have experience in and passion for. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with travel & discovery. I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled a lot of the world, but with it constantly changing there is always more to discover. For the last 15 years, I’ve worked in the fashion and lifestyle industry – Follow Cook is an opportunity for me to combine passion with my experience!
My fascination with exploration started with some early trips from landlocked Birmingham, England, to the Balearics and it evolved from there. I also grew up loving history, especially the history of British exploration. In particular, the journey of Captain Cook. I admired this working-class merchant who broke the mould within the Royal Navy, becoming a captain and spending his life navigating the uncharted waters of the World; seeking new lands, experiencing new cultures and ultimately opening up the World for today’s explorers and travellers to enjoy.
What I didn’t know and failed to acknowledge, was that even though Captain Cook was somebody I aspired to be, I only saw the positives. I didn’t see the issues his landings caused to local or indigenous populations. I didn’t see the destruction the colonisation of the World sometimes did. Someone seen as a hero in one country is seen as a destructive force in another.
Working in the world of clothes, footwear and fashion, I’ve also seen the happiness that new things to wear, or your new favourite shoe can bring to someone. But I also know the waste, the pollution that the industry causes, and the exploitation of workers in far off lands.
I also see the destruction that humans are causing around the world, whether it is climate change, or displacement of indigenous populations, or poaching of wild and beautiful animals.
Creating the idea
When I was thinking of starting this brand, the name that instantly came to mind was Cook. It evokes that gritty nautical spirit, that get up and go attitude; celebrating one of the most famous explorers the World has ever seen.
When I spoke to people about it, many warned against my use of the name – saying it could cause problems for me, that he is not seen as a good person in certain countries. However, that only strengthened my resolve further, because there are so many things that are happening on our planet now that need to be highlighted, they need to be talked about, debated and solutions put in place.
That is what Cook is about. If Cook can get people talking and looking for solutions, then I’ve done what I set out to do.
It’s about creating a platform to share experiences, to elicit confidence to seek new adventures. To use history to guide us. To help right wrongs. To highlight issues so that collectively we can come together to fix them.
Building a legacy
On top of my passion & inspiration, I want to use my experience in the world of fashion & lifestyle to be more considerate of our planet. To source locally where possible, to build what’s now called slow fashion (or product that’s built to last), to reduce my carbon footprint, and to research better, more sustainable materials.
I believe we can all do our part to help individually, but together we are ultimately more powerful and we can protect what we have for future generations.
That is what I want my legacy, and Cook’s legacy to be.