Why Cork Leather?

Posted by Olive McKillop on

So why produce fashion products in cork leather I hear you say!  When we think of cork we remember pulling the cork out of a bottle of wine.  Corks were highly utilised in the wine industry as a way of sealing bottles for centuries, however in recent years there's been a big move in the industry away from cork to plastic seals and this has affected the demand for cork.  In Portugal and Spain there are vast cork forests and for centuries people have been well employed in the harvest and processing of cork. The move to plastic puts the cork forests and jobs at risk. 

Cork Leather Harvest

So why Cork Leather? Cork Leather has been produced in these countries for centuries and there exists great skills amongst their artisans in the production of fashion products.  The great thing about cork leather is it is a sustainable product. Importantly no animals are harmed in it's harvesting or production, Vegan Friendly.  

The Cork Leather Process.  Once the cork bark arrives in the factory, it is boiled in water to make the cork cells expand and make it easier to work with. There are no harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde used in this process.  Then, it is shaved down into thin sheets. To make the cork durable, the sheets are then glued to a cotton/polyester or polyurethane backing.  Whilst cork is naturally water and dust resistant, a coating of sealant (non-toxic,environmentally friendly) is applied to the cork in the final step of production to keep it from getting dirty.  Vegetable dies are used to provide colouring.

Cork Leather Fabric Production


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