What is Cork Leather?

Cork fabric, also known as cork leather, comes from the bark of the cork oak, scientifically referred to as Quercus suber. An evergreen tree, the cork tree has provided wine bottling stoppers or corks for centuries, including cricket ball cores, flooring materials, shoes, among other uses. It is one of the most environmental-friendly fabrics in the universe today.

The Cork Oak Tree

It matures at the age of 25 and then the bark can be harvested every 9 years for over 200 years. While removal of the bark affects most trees, this isn’t the case with cork oaks. Harvesting the bark does not harm the tree and harvested cork oak absorb up to ten times the average carbon dioxide taken up by un-harvested cork oak, decreasing greenhouse gases significantly. In its lifetime (two centuries), a typical cork oak tree is harvested approximately 16 times. Throughout its life, the cork oak tree doesn’t stop offering value to the world.

The largest cork oak woodlands and forests on the face of the earth are located in Portugal. In this small European country over tens of millions of volumes of greenhouse gases are absorbed annually, purifying the air and protecting the planet. In fact, Aguas de Moura, a town in Portugal has the oldest and largest cork oak in the world as noted by the Guinness Book of Records. At 234 years of age, it rises 16 meters high with a circumference so wide the trunk can be embraced by five adults.

Biggest cork oak tree in Portugal   Two men standing on top of the biggest cork oak tree in the world

Oldest and largest cork oak tree in the world, Aguas de Moura, Portugal.

Cork oak ecosystems protect endangered species

This vegan leather is harvested from woodlands that protect animal and human life, safeguard endangered species, and offer a unique, eco-friendly, biodegradable, and durable source of cork leather. Cork oak forests are spread across Western Europe, particularly in Portugal and Spain.

One of the cork-forest protected animals is the Iberian Lynx, a cat species considered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of the most critically threatened species with a dwindling population.

Iberian Lynx   Baby iberian lynx

Vegan leather - Ethical fashion that protects our planet

In a hundred years, global warming has risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius due to significant air pollution and worsening emissions. Every effort geared towards the protection of life on earth must be lauded and encouraged, including the use of alternative leather from the bark of the cork oak tree. Cork oak means reduced carbon dioxide emissions as well as eco-friendly vegan accessories that don’t harm the environment or deplete the ozone. 

Cork leather is now fashioned into handmade, chic accoutrements such as vegan handbags, backpacks, purses, and other accessories. An ethical fashion that is trendy, elegant, tasteful, and luxurious.

Is Cork Leather Really Vegan?

One of the best credentials of cork fabric is its vegan nature. Cork leather is natural, plant-based with zero traces of animal compounds and considered one of the best animal leather alternatives. In the hands of expert craftsmen, the cork is turned into fabric and then fashioned into unique handmade products of various shades.

Is Cork Leather Durable?

Many people wouldn’t expect premium vegan leather made from the bark of a tree to be so reliable and durable but cork fabric is very resilient and is one of the best cruelty-free animal leather alternatives available in the world today. Processing  it makes it exceptionally durable while remaining very soft to the touch.

Unlike animal leather, cork leather is easy to maintain and clean using a piece of cloth, water, and soap. Since cork fabrics are organic and treated with human-friendly compounds, the luxurious handmade products are pure and safe. it's also super-lightweight, naturally hypo-allergenic, and water-resistant.

Cork oak is largely grown in Europe where high standards of growth, harvesting, treatment, and handmade craftsmanship guarantee top-quality vegan fabric accessories.

In a nutshell, cork leather and its products are:

  • Highly waterproof making it ideal for fashion and accessories such as handbags.
  • Vegan - no animal compound is used in cork leather production.
  • Safe on human skin due to cork’s hypo-allergenic, anti-bacterial, and anti-static properties.
  • European made - best quality and highly sought-after vegan leather from Portugal.
  • Comfortable and pleasant to hold and touch. Beautiful naturally occurring patterns.
  • Great for the planet, as cork oak woodlands absorb tens of millions of carbon dioxide amount annually.
  • Highly durable and extremely lightweight.
  • Reusable and naturally biodegradable.

Cork leather isn’t just a fashion statement and cruelty-free substitute to animal leather but much more. Apart from purifying the air we breathe and protecting our planet from the onslaught of harmful emissions it’s also a source of exceptional and stylish backpacks, bags, wallets, face masks, and purses. 

Check-out our Cork Collection here.

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