President Volodymyr Zelensky was deviating from his usual brown or olive green T-shirts in wearing a T-shirt designed by a Singaporean teenager to address delegates at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a security forum hosted by Singapore annually.
The black shirt he wore Saturday featured a drawing of a girl holding a bottle of spray paint, poised on a step ladder against a backdrop of the Ukrainian flag.
“It’s a young Ukrainian girl defiantly painting a new future because self-belief is the best middle finger to oppression,” the shirt’s 16-year-old designer, Ava Soh, wrote on the website of her company, Daughters of the Revolution.
Ms. Soh told the The Straits Times, a Singaporean news outlet, that she had sent the T-shirt to Mr. Zelensky through the Ukrainian Embassy in Singapore in hopes that he would wear it in a photo or a video clip. Little did she expect to see him wear the shirt before the forum’s 500 delegates.
During his 12-minute address, Mr. Zelensky described Ms. Soh’s design as an example of the support Ukraine had received from around the world.
“This support and attention is not only for Ukraine, but for you as well, he said in his address Saturday. “It is on the battlefield in Ukraine that it is being decided what rules the world will live by.”
The olive green and brown T-shirts Mr. Zelensky typically wears to give speeches sometimes feature a cross representing Ukraine’s military.
Ms. Soh did not respond to requests for comment. On her website, Ms. Soh said that proceeds of the shirt and nonfungible tokens of the design, titled “Spray Paint Ukraine,” would be donated to the Ukrainian Embassy in Singapore. She told The Straits Times that she had asked the embassy to redirect the funds to those in need.