It’s always a wonderful thing when you come across a company that you want to know more about and invest in. I was lucky to be introduced to Pico via my good friend Kirsty from The Wood House who has recently started to stock Pico underwear through her online store. I am a big believer in comfort when it comes to underwear but comfort that also comes with integrity. Trying to find the best underwear with these credentials has always been difficult but not any more, everything about these every day goods can be traced back to the source. I can honestly say I don’t think I will be wearing any other pants that aren’t Pico from now on in. They fit my body perfectly are so soft and comfortable you really don’t want to take them off! Not only are they the best pants out there they come with the most credible sustainable background you are going to find when shopping for underwear. Why should the first thing we put against out skin in the morning be the least thought about part of our wardrobe?
Pico started with Project #1 creating what they aptly name ‘gentle underthings’ starting with the organic cotton underwear. Next phase Project #2 was sourcing the perfect handwoven towels which are just wonderful, large enough to wrap around you when you get out of the shower or bath, dry quickly as they are made with organic cotton native to Gujarat and are simple but beautifully made in all their natural glory. How could you not want these to grace your bathroom shelves.
The owners of this revolutionary store Isobel and Pheobe kindly took the time to tell me how Pico came about, the research and hard work that has gone into creating Pico and the amazing things that the girls are focusing on taking them to the next level. All done with grace and elegance and a desire to help look after our planet, I hope you agree.
“We are two friends whose friendship blossomed whilst we both were studying in London – we had a shared
love of clothes and textiles and a deep curiosity into wanting to discover more about their provenance. You
can read more about this, through the words of Isobel’s Mum Ginny – here.
After years of discussions and research – including many trips down to the Welsh valleys to AJM (one of the
last lingerie factories in the UK – which sadly closed only last year), we decided to leave our jobs and launch
Pico in October 2016. I was working at Fever – Tree and Isobel was working on films as a seamstress.
In Project #1 we started with the first thing you put on in the morning – super soft and simple underwear.
‘ Gentle underthings ’ as they have been called. When often discussing how little information is shared with
us about where our clothes come we felt that this was especially the case for our basics. We felt that there are
many products that you can make or mend but your underwear is something that you are likely to buy
many of throughout your lifetime so we wanted to do it right. All the products we produce – we feel are
everyday items, but they deserve as much care, attention and beauty as the rest. Very much in line with
William Morris’ concept of how everything one owns should be both useful and beautiful.. down to our
underwear! Our research led us to a lot of the work of Dr Vandana Shiva and to wanting to understand
more about the very serious issues surrounding the cotton industry. From what we learnt, we made it our
mission to only use cotton and other natural fibres that we can source as directly as possible from the
farmers and that is being produced in a way that is both positive for the planet and the people growing it.
On our first visit to India we visited various fairtrade factories and organic farmers co-operatives and we
then went on work with the smallest of the all the fairtrade factories. It is really nice to be working with a
small factory especially when we are small ourselves. We have built a close relationship with Girish – the
factory manager, who has helped us a lot on our steep learning curve as we have built the brand. It is so nice
going back to the factory and each time feeling like we know the place and the people that bit better. We
even tried learning a bit of Tamil last time, much to everyone’s amusement as it is quite a difficult language
and we were getting a bit muddled! Girish also was very connected with his whole supply chain and so was
able to share with us and introduce us to the organic farmers co-operatives, to the ginners, knitters, dyers
and of course those working in the factory. This was so important to us – to share the story of everyone
involved from the seeds to the final seam and try and learn as much as possible ourselves.
We are very excited that on our next trip out to India we shall be visiting a new farmers’ co-operative who
we shall be working with. They are based in Tamil Nadu, which means for the underwear the whole supply
chain will be in one state. This closed circuit supply chain had been something we were wanting to do when
we first embarked on this project. Initially it was not possible so this feels like a big milestone.
For Project #2 we are producing handwoven towels that are made of an indigenous cotton that grows in the
desert in Gujarat and has adapted to the climate and landscape over thousands of years. For these we are
working with a small co-operative of farmers and weavers. This co-operative was set up after the disastrous
earthquake in 2001 and is a platform for crafts, heritage and cultural ecology.
For each project we have been exploring different ways of producing – the underwear is a jersey fabric that
once the cotton is harvested it is industrially produced where as the towels are hand woven on small looms
by one weaver. These are very different ways of processing the same fibre.
For Project #3 we shall be working with wool. We have been doing a lot of research around UK native fibres
and the industry and as part of this I was shepherdessing on a farm that pioneers breeding sheep for wool as
well as for meat.
We are also working on a spring project with a lovely and very talented natural dyer from Ireland –Kathryn Davey who will be doing a limited run of Pico pants in a series of natural dyes. We are very excited about
On the side of producing products we have also run mending clubs and events like the ‘ Nature of Cloth ’
connecting people to the beauty of fibres and slow fabrics and the benefits of working with our hands. We
have plans to run more community projects – mending, felting / spinning and natural dying. We shall keep
you posted on these!”
I can not express how much I love Pico products, it is a genuine belief and high regard for what this fabulous company is achieving through supplying the most basic of garments that we all need. I simply could not be without my Pico pants now, I just love them and I hope you will too.
- With thanks to Pico who kindly gifted the pants and towel for the purpose of this post