Guest blog post by Daniela Cocchiarella From naive beginnings, the founders of Pico set out to create a product that is entirely traceable to ethical origins. Organic, sustainable and well-balanced – Pico products are understated in style and practical to wear. Their story began five years ago when the founders, Phoebe Hunter-McIlveen and Isobel Williams-Ellis, shared a vision that was to attain an ethical supply chain right down to the cotton seed. After sourcing materials and production spanning Wales, Turkey and Berlin, Phoebe and Isobel focussed their attention on Southern India. It is here that they found the farming community that best suited their vision.
Surpassed by much of the commercial fashion world, Southern India is home to farmers who cultivate, grow, weave, dye and sew clothing products with entirely organic, sustainable processes. A number of farmer-run co-operatives set up across the country have enabled farming communities to enhance their skills and knowledge through workshops and training into organic farming methods. Seed banks enable farmers to operate within a closed circuit that is trusted and not dependent on GMOs and harmful pesticides. Cotton framers are supported within a growing community that places great importance on the safe and fair produce of their crops. They aim to empower farmers with the independence to manage their own crops and production methods.
The transitioning of half a million farmers across southern India to sustainable, organic methods has enabled designers like Phoebe and Isobel to bring their product back to the UK with a supply chain that is entirely traceable to the very seeds that grow the cotton. October 2016 saw the official launch of Pico’s range of organic cotton underpants and plans are in motion to expand the collection. Having established an ethical supply chain that contributes to the livelihoods of organic cotton farmers, Phoebe and Isobel are thoughtfully crafting a brand that is both timely and timeless. Pico sell their goods at www.project-pico.com and at craft markets throughout the UK. Daniela Cocchiarella writes about textiles and all things handmade and can be found at The Printed Square: www.theprintedsquare.co.uk