About cork

In this article we have collected all the interesting information about cork.

Enjoy reading!

From the cork oak tree to cork fabric

The renewable material cork is coming from the bark of the cork oak tree. No tree has to be cut down for cork production, the cork oak is simply peeled. Peeling the cork trees has no negative effects on the natural development of the cork oak. The tree is peeled by hand. During this process, experienced harvesters use an ax to peel the bark off the oak tree. Under no circumstances may the tree trunk be damaged during this procedure, as it would otherwise be injured and could lead to death of the tree. That is why the skills of the special cork harvest have been passed on for generations in Portugal. The cork oak harvest season is from May to August.

A cork tree is peeled for the first time at the age of 25. The cork bark then naturally grows back and is only peeled up to 17 times every 9 years. The cork oak is very durable and usually reaches an age of more than 200 years. A cork oak produces up to 700kg of cork during its lifespan.

“Cork oak landscapes are one of the best examples of balanced conservation and development anywhere in the world. They also play a key role in ecological processes such as water retention, soil conservation, and carbon storage.” – WWF

Cork and the environment

Cork oak forests make a major contribution to the preservation of the environment. The trees endure drought and place few demands on the nature of the soil. The cork oak forests, called “montados” in Portuguese, help regulate the water balance and protect the soil, thus preventing desertification. Because the cork oak is a long-lived and evergreen deciduous tree, cork absorbs a considerable part of carbon dioxide (CO2), that is primarily responsible for global warming, in photosynthesis. The Portuguese cork oak forests bind around 4.8 million tons of CO2 out of a total of 14 million tons worldwide. The annual CO2 emissions of a medium-sized car can be compensated with less than 1.5 hectares of cork oak forest.

The animals & plants of the cork forests

In addition to the large variety of plant species, cork oak forests are home to a number of unique and protected animal species, for example the wild cat, the Iberian lynx (the world’s most endangered big cat species), bird species and various eagle species (e.g. the stone, snake, Dwarf or hawk eagle).

Production of our cork products

As the origin country for cork and also for the production of our models, we decided to produce locally in Portugal. This not only has the environmental advantage of short transport routes within the EU – from Portugal to our location in Cologne, Germany -, but also reinforces for us the traditional background of the cork craft.

Over half of the world’s cork trade is handled in Portugal, where over 30% of the world’s cork trees grow, in total 736,000 hectares. As a result of reforestation, the acreage of cork oaks in Portugal grows by around 1 percent annually. This is reflected in the economic and social importance of the cork oak trees for the Portuguese population. The cork oak forests and the associated forestry maintain over 100,000 direct jobs in industry and indirect jobs (forestry, cattle breeding, catering, tourism, etc.). We want to support the “country of origin” of cork and its economy.

Manufacturing and features of cork fabric

We chose cork textile as a vegan leather alternative. Cork fabric feels velvety soft like leather. The textile is haptically comparable to supple suede leather. Because the bark of the cork tree is used to ecological adaptation to the dry and hot climate in Portugal, cork is extremely robust and water-repellent. The natural grain of the cork bark makes each model unique. Cork textile is also odorless, anti-allergic and easy to care for.

From the bark to the cork fabric

In order to be able to use the cork bark as a fabric material, it is first aired after the harvest. Then the cork bark is steamed and boiled. Steaming and cooking reduce pollutants, and cause greater elasticity and lower density. After the boiling bath, the cork material is dried. To make the cork fabric, parts are cut from the bark, which in turn are glued together. The end result is a roll from which cork sheets are cut into very thin sheets and glued to a textile reinforcement, the so-called backing material. We use a mixture of cotton, polyester and polyurethane (PU) as backing material. PU is less harmful to the environment than polychloride (PVC), which is normally used for imitation leather. The finished cork fabric can then be processed like leather for cork bags and wallets.

Care and cleaning of our cork products

Cork is a “natural leather alternative” from the cork bark. It reacts to its environment. Sometimes the cork material darkens after long use and skin contact. This is normal. If you want to clean your cork bag or wallet: cork textile can be cleaned with a clean cloth and a soft dishwashing detergent and water. It is enough to wipe the cork fabric gently. If they are stains, you can also wash the cork of your bag and wallets gently by hand. After washing, hang up the product and let it dry. After that, your cork bag or wallet is like new!

FAQs about cork

Cork oaks grow in the Mediterranean. The main cork production is in southern Portugal and southern Spain. The cork is coming from the bark of the cork oak.

Cork is a natural resource. Cork is renewable and recyclable, it is biodegradable and therefore 100% sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Regardless of whether you live vegan or not, there are good reasons to use cork as a leather alternative. Leather can cause allergies and can be carcinogenic due to the partly toxic chemical tanning. As a consumer, however, you rarely notice this and you can hardly protect yourself.

With our designer handbags and wallets made of cork you get an ideal alternative, because cork is anti-allergic, a natural material and on top of that vegan.

No! The material cork is coming from the bark of the cork oak. No tree has to be cut down for cork production, the cork oak is simply peeled.

Find more information about the vegan material cork and cork production here.

In addition to many different accessories, handbags and wallets can be made from cork. The perfect alternative to leather!

If you want to clean your cork purse: cork textile can be cleaned with a clean cloth and a soft dishwashing detergent and water. It is enough to wipe the cork textile gently. If they are stains, you can also wash the cork of our bags and wallets gently by hand. After washing, hang up the bag or wallet and let it dry.

In the press

Follow us on Instagram

Handbags, purses and more. We produce vegan bags and wallets made of cork! Designed in Cologne, made in Portugal ♥