After the Selvedge Fair at Charleston opened its doors to a huge number of visitors last weekend, we spoke to Phoebe at Project Picot about the ins and outs of underwear after they joined us as exhibitors on the day...
What made you start working with textiles?
Isobel and I have always talked about how little information is shared about where our clothes come from, how they’re made, by who and what impact their production has on the people producing them. It was at this point that we started to talk about the idea of creating a clothing business that would allow the consumer to understand exactly how their clothes are made – from the sowing of the seeds to the fabric. We felt that an openness and transparency was especially lacking with essential items such as our underwear and we were yet to find a pair of pants that fitted our ethics and aesthetics, so the Pico pant plans began.
What is it about your craft that captured your attention?
We wanted to learn and share as much as we could about the problems and effects of the cotton and garment industry, but we especially wanted to show people that there is an alternative.
Who inspires you?
We’ve been so inspired by the likes of Dr Vandana Shiva, an eco-feminist and physicist who has helped over half a million farmers transition to organic. We went out and stayed on her biodiversity farm, learning about organic farming techniques, modern gandhism and gross national happiness. We’ve also met some incredible weavers and spinners in the UK like the likes of Flaxland who grow and harvest flax and teach people how to turn it into fibres using their beautiful ornate wood carved machines. We’re also really inspired by Kishore Shah who is on a mission to drive a khadi movement in the UK, showing people the power, politics and ethics behind this beautiful hand woven cloth.
What’s your favourite part of the process?
The people we meet. They are all so open and always welcome us into their worlds.
What’s the hardest part?
Balancing the production and project side of what we do. We would love to be spending more time out with the communities in India, but we also want to share our experiences with people in the UK.
Where do you live and why?
Isobel is currently in the Cotswolds where we have a small office and will be having an open studio throughout December. I'm currently based in the Dorset countryside where I spends most nights sleeping out in the yurt my parents built from locally sourced wood.
What’s your ideal Sunday?
A long walk and a sea swim with a fire on the beach. Also meeting people – we’re hoping to meet up with a seventh generation twine maker soon and visit his workshop.
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go?
Navdanya – Dr Vandana Shiva’s farm in the foothills of the Himalayas.
What’s your favourite colour?
That’s a tricky one. We both love indigo, madder or turmeric yellow.
What are you reading at the moment?
Isobel is reading No is not Enough by Naomi Klein, and I’m reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.
What’s next after Charleston?
We'll be returning back to India in the new year to revisit our supply chain and hope to research and visit farmers who are transitioning to organic or are hoping to do so. We're always exploring new products too and will revisit khadi units making hand-woven cotton cloth. We're hoping to work with this Gandhian cloth in the near future.
To find out more about the Selvedge Fair in Charleston this October 14th, and to avail of our two for one offer on all tickets, click here.