Why We Love Cork – and Why You’ll Love It, Too!
I was recently asked, “How can you use cork? Doesn’t it fall apart and crumble?” Absolutely not! Cork is a durable, wipeable, soft material that has a luxurious look and feel for bags and other products.
What is it and how is cork fabric made?
Cork fabric is made from the outer bark layer of cork oak trees found throughout the Mediterranean. However, 70% of cork products come from Portugal. Removing the outer layer of cork does not hurt the trees, as with most bark removal. Cork oak trees live for more than 200 years, and can be harvested every ten years. The industry is carefully regulated by the Portuguese government to ensure safe practices, and the sustainability of cork forests. The workers are well trained to know exactly how far down they can cut without touching the actual trunk.
Chemical Free and Zero Waste Process
Once harvested, the cork is then boiled in water (no chemicals!), set to dry for four months, and then shaved into thin strips These strips are adhered to a backing with a water-based adhesive. Some backings are a polyester blend, which uses chemicals and plastics to produce. I try to only purchase cotton-backed cork fabric, which costs a bit more, but is ecologically responsible and biodegradable.
Cork that is not used for the fabric strips is used to create other products such as bulletin boards and wine stoppers.
While you will often see the term “cork leather”, there is nothing animal about it! The term comes from its usage, often replacing leather on bags and wallets. It has the same durability without the harm.
While not every product we produce has cork, we try to incorporate it into as many bags as possible. We love working with cork fabric, love the unique and varied looks of each piece, and think that you will, too.