Work in Fashion Presents: Picualia
By Yasmin Jones-Henry
It’s not every day that I stumble upon a product that quite literally stops me in my tracks. Oscillating between the worlds of economics and fashion I often find myself drawn to the products that are moulded out of a central ethos, a cultural narrative that I find edifying in some way. As you already know, the basis of this website is built on the Latin derivative of fashion, ‘facere’, meaning to do or to make. How something is made is important. The source, the life, the hands and the hearts that gave life, nurtured and formed the item that now stands before you – all matter.
It goes without saying that a healthy mind, heart and body are the foundation of any successful composition. So the summer edition of WorkinFashion Presents is heading into the realm of food. Extra virgin olive oil to be precise. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Picualia.
On one midsummer’s evening, while in the Foodhall in Selfridges debating with my mother where we should go next – we quite literally walked into a nutritional goldmine. Poured into three generous wine glasses, stood three luminous green samples of extra virgin olive oil. Naturally, as I’m sure those of you who know my mother would expect – healthy foods – is her area of expertise, so I took a step back while she and Wizzy (Picualia’s UK rep) began an intense conversation about the virtues of preservative free extra virgin olive oil.
Let’s start with the health benefits…
- Of the 2,600 olives from around the world, the Picual olive has one of the highest levels of antioxidants and provides the most health benefits.
- Packed with anti-oxidants – for those mindful of preserving their youth – the Picual olive also contains Vitamins A and E that helps to slow down the oxidative damage to body tissue.
- Includes antioxidants that have been associated with lowering the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
- Improves circulation, reducing the risk of thrombosis.
So it’s good for the skin, brain matter and blood circulation. But that was not the unique selling point that captivated my imagination. It wasn’t until Wizzy started talking about the families who farm the Picual olive, that I took a step closer to hear more about this product.
Located in the heart of Andalucia’s Jaen province, for over 70 years, farmers have collaborated to deliver the highest quality crop. 950 local farmers – all work together in a co-op to create a product that has won every international award available. The absence of a cold corporate face provoked me to ask questions about the olive groves and the production process. Sustainability, Wizzy informed me, was central to the brand’s ethos. Picualia own the only state of the art eco-friendly olive mill in Spain. Everything is used. The pips are converted into bio fuel – adding to Spain’s world leading reputation as being at the forefront of clean energy and bio-fuel technology.
The passion Wizzy has for the liquid gold stored within the bottles stocked on Selfridges shelves – is borne out of a personal connection to the brand. Her sister, Tara is married to the son of one of the farmers and having lived in the region for over 20 years, confirms that the Picualia brand is a family affair. Both women are mothers – they cook with the oil. They both laughed as they informed me their teenagers are all well versed in the virtues of extra virgin olive oil.
Millennials have been the drivers behind this sudden shift towards ethical living. Ethical fashion has now become a topic of conversation in the mainstream. As the high street brands and major corporations scramble to shed it’s fast fashion credentials, the smaller, more dynamic firms are innovating new ways to bring products to the market without harming the environment, exploiting their workforce or short changing the consumer. In a market that is already oversaturated, their ethical foundation is what enables Picualia to stand head and shoulders above their competition.
With three harvests a year (as opposed to one – which most competitors have), Picualia is able to offer their customers a diverse selection of pure olive oils that vary in intensity. Stored in temperature controlled vats – the cold pressed Picual olive is harvested and immediately stored to preserve the nutrients and minerals in the oil. They promise full traceability: ‘never mixed, never blended’. Their oil is produced from the single Picual olive variety.
With the plethora of health benefits aside – it is the knowledge that Picualia is a truly ethical brand that caught my attention. From the seeds in the hands of the farmers to the harvest and the mill, the profits are returned to the co-op of farmers who in turn invest their earnings back into developing a sustainable ecosystem. Community is central to everything they do. Creating a cutting edge sustainable product that benefits both the consumer and local economy creates a perfect paradigm for the fractured protectionist global economy that now stands before us.
*Picualia is exclusively sold in Selfridges, Oxford Street London.
Follow on Picualia on Instagram: @picualia_uk or visit www.picualia.com
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