News

Carapace Cork Fashion Design April 06, 2017 15:10

Amorim has been on a mission to introduce sustainable cork to local designers and they are doing this quite successfully methinks, with some beautiful and interesting new products emerging and being showcased in exhibition-style events.

Last year, promising young fashion designer Megan Taljaard – who completed her degree in Fashion 2012 at FEDISA and was the winner of the Richard Bloom award in her 2nd year – created this captivating carapace dress from cork, specifically to showcase the material.

Carapace Cork Fashion Design

In Megan’s words:

“The carapace dress is an avant-garde fashion installation piece, created specifically for the ‘The Cork Collection’. The dress is comprised of three layers: the under layer or ‘lining’ is sewn from a cotton-based, grey fabric; the innermost layer, or skeleton of the garment, known as ‘The Carrier’ consists of calico and boning, this is what gives the garment its armour-like structure; and lastly, the outer layer is sewn out of cork, supplied by Amorim Cork SA.”

If you missed out on seeing this intriguing work, then take yourself off to see the 2013 Cork Collection exhibition at The Woodstock Foundry in Cape Town. The Cork Collection features cork objects by local designers Laurie Wiid van Heerden, David Bellamy and Megan Taljaard, alongside wMateria and Alma Gémea from Portugal. It’s on until the 20th of May.

Cork is an interesting material. Its texture makes it striking for interiors and it has been used to stylish effect in retail by Vida e Caffè. But I find it astonishing when used in fashion, as it is all the more unexpected. Have a look at these sneakers, supposedly inspired by an NBA champ dousing himself in champagne… yes, they are a real corker.

 

By Plascon


This Cork Surfboard Aims to Shift the Industry’s Eco-Board Game March 10, 2017 08:58

Cork Surfboard

There’s no shortage of innovation we can expect in the future of surfboard manufacturing. It’s not a secret that they aren’t exactly the most eco-friendly toys on the planet, and that kind of guilt has led more than a few people to play with different materials that can reduce surfing’s footprint on the world. Today, we get a surfboard covered completely in…cork.   

Project Korko is a board with a recyclable polystyrene core and a flax/epoxy stringer, all 100% covered by raw cork. Notox Surfboards have designed three models – a 5’6″, a 6’6″, and a 7’6″ – going for about $420 USD right now on the low end, and while it’s not the first cork surfboard the world has ever seen, it does look like it’s the closest we’ve come to a truly green surfboard. Other cork boards are typically just a cork deck with your standard foam, fiberglass and resin components making up a majority of the surfboard. But from the looks of Korko’s  Indiegogo campaign, they’ve stayed away from any of the Earth-killing materials that make up the traditional surfboard. ECOLIZER, a tool businesses can use to measure the environmental impact of their product, scored these boards to have a 55% weaker impact on the environment compared to a conventional surfboard. If I had any idea how the ECOLIZER works, what it actually measures, and how to decipher its points scale (the Korko scored 1,551 points to the conventional surfboard’s 3,455 points), I might be able to tell you what that 55% accounts for. But in the big picture, if the entire industry could somehow cut its footprint in half from manufacturing surfboards we’d obviously be making a drastically positive shift.

Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Notox Surfboard’s Project Korko on Indiegogo here.  

The Inertia for Good Editor


How Designers are Incorporating Cork in Fashion February 23, 2017 11:50

In fashion, designers have been incorporating cork in unique ways, creating garments that range from simple but still stunning, to those that are a bit more ‘out there’. Canadian fashion designer Evan Biddell presented a collection in which we toyed with cork and volume during Toronto Fashion Week 2010. And if you don’t feel quite ready for a complete cork outfit, design collective Casa Gridigi created a range of knitted cork accessories. The pieces are made using a weaving process that makes the cork look like raffia or wool.

Evan Biddell information and images sourced from www.evanbiddell.ca


Cork: In everything from clothing to fashion accessories, it's popping up all over December 27, 2016 13:11

Cork. It's not just for wine stoppers and bulletin boards anymore. Embraced by some progressive furniture makers decades ago and a staple in housewares, cork has found a larger place among shoes, handbags,...

Embraced by some progressive furniture makers decades ago and a staple in housewares, cork has found a larger place among shoes, handbags, jewelry and other fashion accessories.

"I think we're in a very natural vibe right now, and a very green vibe. Cork works with that. It's just something unique. This season it has really hit its high point," said Alison Minton, who blogs about accessories at Accessorygeneration.com.

 "I think that it's on its way to becoming something permanent in the marketplace," Heinkel said from Amelia Island, Fla. "I used to live in Spain, and I found the handbags on a weekend in Portugal, and I'm having a lot of fun with it. I used to go to the trade shows and I would have to kind of bang the drums to get people's attention and explain, but now it has its own momentum."

Turner, fond of natural materials that also include raffia, started using cork about seven years ago to further her tropical vacation aesthetic.

 "It's very malleable so it translates easily on handbags and shoes. And it's highly durable. There are no issues with fraying or pulling apart like the raffia. People love it for travel," Turner said. "It's also cost-effective."

http://www.providencejournal.com

Cork is the thick outer bark of mature trees and fully regenerates over cycles of about 10 years, until quality falls off after seven cycles or so. Cork extraction is one of the most environmentally friendly harvesting methods, and cork production provides a sustainable livelihood for people in many parts of the world, according to the WWF. Portugal is the biggest producer and the primary source of diversification of cork into accessories.

Ohad, who teaches at the New York School of Interior Design, said cork remains on the outskirts of forward-looking furniture after it appeared to be resurfacing a few years ago.


The Future of Cork in Fashion November 28, 2016 13:41

Every once in while we find amazing designers breaking out from the mold using unique processes. This month we are featuring a designer from the Czech Republic, Klara Plaskova.

Material is the subject. It shows me both opportunities and constraints that require further testing and enhancing. I want to give cork a new image, to override associations and to blend it into contemporary, innovative design. It is essential to get to know the characteristics of the material in order to incorporate it as an inspiration into the fashion collection.

Cork challenges me in its material autonomy while at the same time limiting me through its specific properties.

The cork i use is known as cork-leather, a material that when processed, is very similar to animal leather. Cork is water-resistant and stable, it can be printed on and dyed. Cork is a natural product and its production has very little impact on natural processes of the ecological system.

The colour and fabric scheme of the collection is closely adapted to the characteristics of cork. The various types of forms are based on experimental pattern cutting and drapery made in collaboration with the designer Chantal Margiotta. Focal areas are premium processing, natural materials and innovative design solutions.

Klara Plaskova

http://www.klaraplaskova.com


Move over Marble October 25, 2016 16:14

Once associated with happy hour and awful occasion wear wedges, cork has had an upgrade. First spotted at the Chanel SS16 couture show, Karl’s eco-chic themed show saw models stomping the wood-chip catwalk in cork wedges. And now we’ve seen it popping up everywhere.

While last year marble had a major moment, we predict that by 2017 everyone will be Instagramming their cork. We’ve spotted everything from cork heels and clutches to candles and stationery - you're spolit for choice.

Cork makes the perfect material for summer-appropriate accessories. The neutral shade means that cork pieces are supremely wearable, just think of it like raffia’s cooler cousin.

Style cork sandals with wide-leg culottes and and an off-the-shoulder top, sling a cork cross-body bag over a shirt dress, or mix up your mantelpiece with a cork candle.

by Elizabeth Bennett


October 18 is World Okapi Day October 18, 2016 13:29

October 18, 2016

Join us as we celebrate the inaugural World Okapi Day!

The elusive okapi is a mysterious and secretive mammal that is nearly impossible to observe in the wild. Commonly mistaken as a hybrid between 2 or 3 animals, the okapi is its very own distinct species living in the spectacular, lush rainforests of central Africa.

Its existence is under serious threat from the impact of human activities. The okapi is entirely dependent on the forest sanctuary for its survival, and deforestation, along with poaching and mining, has contributed to its precipitous decline in recent decades.

Remaining unknown to the western world until 1901, the okapi is a cultural symbol in the Congo, and is considered an umbrella species for the immense biodiversity in the area – protecting the okapi means protecting all other species found in its habitat, including elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas.

Most people have never heard about the okapi, which is why we created a World Okapi Day – to help bring awareness to this endangered species, to share ways we’re helping protect this animal and to show how you can help too.

Ways you can help save okapi:

  • Visit your nearest zoo or okapi holding facility. See our list of partners and supporters in North America, Europe and Asia here.
  • Tell your family and friends about the okapi.
  • Recycle your old cell phones – they contain coltan a mineral mined in the forests of DRC. Recycling your phones means less mining in the forest.
  • Post your best okapi photos on social media and use the hashtags #OkapiConservation and #WorldOkapiDay on all your okapi-related posts.
  • Change your social media cover photo to one of the options found on our Facebook page.
  • Give a $10 gift (or more) to the Okapi Conservation Project by visiting by clicking here. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to help protect okapi and its habitat.
  • Host your own okapi awareness event! Get creative! And be sure to share with us what you did! Take photos and email them to lmeers@okapiconservation.org and you may be featured on our social media channels!

Cork is getting all of the attention it deserves. October 03, 2016 16:40

 

With a certain wine hue garnering a barrel of attention this year, fashion followers are paying homage to the bottle in a new way. This time it's with cork, which is the go-to texture for spring.

Designers such as Ralph Lauren , Diane Von Furstenberg and Kate Spade have all found success incorporating the material — and sometimes pattern — into their offerings.

From belts and bags to wedges and flats, the eco-friendly material is showing that it has use beyond bulletin boards and champagne bottles. In addition to everyday fashion styles in cork, the trend takes on extra importance here in Maryland.

"Who would have thought that popping the cork off your favorite bottle of Champagne could contribute to your wardrobe?" said Latease T. Lashley, founder of Creatively Speaking, a Baltimore-based company specializing in fashion commentary.

Cork is the latest example of designers becoming more creative and economically minded in the construction and design of ready-to-wear garments, said Lashley.

"The use of cork is an unassuming yet interesting material that has the quality to read luxurious to trendy in accessories, including chic handbags," she said. "From shoes to bracelets to men's wallets, cork is a fashion element that is sustainable, durable and here to stay."

Shop Cork Design carries a unique assortment of handmade cork products that are elegant, eco-friendly with fashion forward design.


Cork Is the New Black October 03, 2016 16:13

You may already know that there is nothing animal friendly or eco-friendly about leather made from animal skins. Buying leather bags, belts, jackets, or wallets means subjecting cows, dogs, and other animals to the horrors of farms and slaughterhouses. And just like fur, leather is loaded with toxic chemicals to keep it from decomposing in the buyer’s closet.

Enter cork, a sustainable, stylish, and animal-friendly solution. Cork fabric is made from the outer bark of cork oak trees, which naturally grows back, so cork products are as kind to the planet as they are chic.

More and more fashion brands are using this soft, durable, and water-resistant material to create purses, phone and computer cases, travel bags, jewelry, and more.


Cork. It’s not just for wine stoppers and bulletin boards anymore. July 31, 2016 17:20

Embraced by some progressive furniture makers decades ago and a staple in housewares, cork has found a larger place among shoes, handbags, jewelry and other fashion accessories.

Designer Elaine Turner is a proponent of cork, which is renewable, feather light and water resistant. So is Ingrid Heinkel, who imports cork accessories ranging from men’s wallets to a woman’s backpack in a tiger stripe design.

Cork is popping up in umbrellas, simple apparel items like shawls, watchbands, bracelets, necklaces, hats, belts, golf bags and shoes, shoes, shoes — moccasins, flip-flops and Superga sneakers with neon flecks to Jimmy Choo wedges and Badgley Mischka stilettos.

And we’re not just talking soles and shock absorbent footbeds. We’re talking uppers in double straps and gold tips from Turner and vibrant color combinations in slides, though cork is often left in its raw, recognizable state.

“I think we’re in a very natural vibe right now, and a very green vibe. Cork works with that. It’s just something unique. This season it has really hit its high point,” said Alison Minton, accessories blogger.

While Minton sees cork as a seasonal item for spring and summer, Heinkel went so far as to declare: “Cork is the new leather.”

 


Cork knit gives rise to clothing June 29, 2016 17:21

GRIGI is the name of the company created by the Portuguese fashion designer, Mónica Gonçalves. Its aim is the study and experimentation of local and natural materials for their implementation in different areas, including fashion. The word GRIGI arises from a play on syllables and from the Italian word grigio (meaning grey), with the symbolism of an internal force that supports external evils. “GRIGI is my dream that took root against a backdrop of crisis and demoralisation,” explained the designer. The cork knit is her major triumph. She was a pioneer in its use and has already received national and international awards for its use. “The passion for cork was born when I began to realise the great potential of this material. It was a whole new world to explore!”, revealed Mónica Gonçalves.
GRIGI was born with this knit, from the intersection between the values of tradition, ecology and sustainability and the desire to bring design to cork and take cork to a plural place closer to the consumer, through clothing.
“I started by experimenting at home, and I saw right away that it was a material that collaborated and somehow “spoke”. It is very easy to handle and work, but when something does not work cork immediately shows that it is not feasible to proceed with the idea,” explains the designer.

“All designers have a gift. My identity comes to the fore through the experimental – mutation, another face of utility items and dual functionality, the new and the different,” states Mónica Gonçalves.

The designer has developed three collections using cork fabric. Most recently, she supported the development of Little GRIGI, in partnership with Vera Gonçalves and Joana Branco. “One day they proposed at a meeting to create a brand that portrayed GRIGI but in a child’s version! I loved the idea, and right after Little GRIGI was born I went to Paris with the SS15 collection of GRIGI, and the feedback was excellent! “said Mónica Gonçalves. She concludes: “the fashion designers realised that there was nothing in the children’s market in cork, and since they really appreciated the cork knit they decided to innovate and create a new approach to the market.”

APCOR


The Cork Oak, a Millenary Tree May 09, 2016 15:34

The cork oak (Quercus suber L.) has green leaves all year round (it is an evergreen tree) and has a very special bark – the cork.

It is included in the oak genus (Quercus spp.), a group of species with common affinities and origin. The cork oak belongs to a small sub-group that embodies European and Asian species– the group Cerris. The first trees identified as cork oaks occurred millions of years ago. Since then, several episodes of climatic change have taken place affecting the vegetation. Particularly interesting is the period that began around 1.8 million years ago –

the Pleistocene Age - characterized by alternating periods of extreme cold (glacial eras) with warmer inter-glacial periods. These events decisively influenced the geographical distribution and the genetic diversity of the cork oak. The cold forced the cork oak to take refuge in more benign climatic areas. At the end of the last glacial period, around 10,000 years ago, the cork oak colonized its present distribution area. Currently, cork oak occurs typically in the Western Mediterranean region, i.e., in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain), south of France and the west coast of Italy, as well as in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) and the Mediterranean Islands (Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia). The total area occupied is currently around 1.44 million hectares in Europe and 0.70 million hectares in Northern Africa. More than half of this area is located in the Iberian Peninsula (Figure 1, Chart 1 and 2).

Brought to you by APCOR

 


Cork Fashion April 12, 2016 15:43

Cork Fashion UK  brought to you a new concept of fashion and accesories made from cork.

We are living today in a world that brought to our attention, various factors harmful to health. One of this factor and the most important to human health, is the use of artificial products, that despite defending the real cause of not killing animals, just because they can not reach the maximum level of protection from humans, but because of using chemicals to support the development itself.

It is clear that I am speaking of synthetic skin. Synthetic leather, artificial leather, leather vegetable, leather, etc… Are names given to products invented to replace the reduction of animal skins. However, we must pay attention to different types of materials used in production of these artificial skins, which are almost always plastic material or concealed.

Fashion made from Cork, Cork Fashion, Cork News, Cork Lifestyle

http://www.corknow.ie/


London Fashion Week Features Cork April 04, 2016 12:04

Portuguese cork was featured in London Fashion Week this year, that took place in the West Wing of the Somerset House, from February 18 to 23, and during which the Portugueses Marques’Almeida presented their Fall/Winter collection.

The cork oak bark was the selected material by Portugal to symbolize the ecological sustainability Utopia in the International Fashion Showcase (IFS), an initiative of the British Council and the British Fashion Council with the participation of 24 invited countries.

The event, was part of the agenda of London Fashion Week and that was a platform to emerging fashion designers, has as theme “Utopias da Moda”, that invokes the book “Utopia” from Thomas More, published 500 years ago, as referred by the Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal (AICEP).

Challenged to share the interpretation of Utopia, the responsible of Portuguese attendance, planned by Aicep Portugal Global and Portugal Fashion — ANJE, choose cork “to make known its potential as raw material”.

One cork ton was donated by Corticeira Amorim, which was used to cover the floor and one structure of the room, where Estelita Mendonça, HIBU, KLAR, Pedro Neto and UNT collections are going to be displayed.

The Portuguese presence culminated on Tuesday with the fashion show of the Fall/Winter collection of Marques’Almeida, founded by Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida. This is the tenth collection that this brand presented in London Fashion Week, where 83 international fashion designers showed their collections this year.

Source: Público and Correio da Manhã


Meet Daniel Michalik February 11, 2016 12:52

Daniel Michalik Furniture Design

 

Daniel Michalik, a Brooklyn-based designer, uses cork as his primary material in his furniture and product designs. When he found a supplier that was getting rid of a large amount of material that couldn’t be used anymore, Daniel bought 2,000 lbs of the discarded waste and started experimenting to see what forms could be derived from cork. What he has ended up with is a line of furniture and products that are beautiful and unique.

Cork is considered a sustainable product, made from the stripped bark of the cork oak tree which can live for over 200 years. The trees are not cut down; rather the stripped bark is harvested in intervals over the life of the tree. Much of the cork harvested today comes from Portugal and North Africa where the cork oak trees also provide essential habitat for a number of endangered species. When cork forests are protected and managed properly, the material is renewable and recyclable. While 60% of global cork production being used to stop wine and champagne bottles, there is a growing movement in the creative industry to use cork for its malleability and sustainability.

 


Cork and Natural Biodiversity January 17, 2016 10:25

The cork oak forests are home to a great natural biodiversity of wild fauna, with 24 species of reptiles and amphibians (53% of all Portuguese species), more than 160 species of birds, and 37 species of mammals (60% of all Portuguese mammals). The cork oak forests provide safety cover and nesting and feeding grounds for many species of wildlife.

The mammals found in cork oak forests include hares, weasels, wolves, genets, wild boars, deer and some Iberian lynxes – the cork oak montados and woods are the preferred habitat of this, the most threatened feline in the world.

The cork oak forests of the Iberian Peninsula are the ideal habitat for millions of birds, such as kestrels, little owls, black storks, eagles, Spanish imperial eagles, kites, black vultures, robins, thrushes, chaffinches and woodpeckers, as well as 60,000 grey herons that migrate here each year from northern Europe. They are also home to hoopoes and bee-eaters, skylarks, starlings, jays, magpies, nightingales, blackcaps and robins, chiffchaffs, nuthatches, sparrows and yellowhammers.

The Tawny Owl, a medium sized nocturnal bird of prey, with grey or reddish-brown plumage and large black eyes, is particularly abundant in cork oak and holm oak montados, and inhabits old trees with lots of holes, and oak trees. The Woodlark, a small lark with brown plumage, a short tail and vestigial crop, nests throughout the territory in a wide variety of habitats, such as open montado. The European robin, a small turdidae with brown plumage, like a bright orange “bib” covering the face and chest; one of the most common birds during winter, it frequents a wide range of tree formations, including cork oak and holm oak montados, cork oak forests, holm oak forests, olive groves, pines, and riparian forests.

Of the 51 Important Areas for Birds in Continental Portugal identified by the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), 11 have significant areas (more than 1000 hectares) of cork and cork oak forests.

 

Iberian Lynx

Studies conducted in March 2005 found that there are only 100 surviving Iberian lynx, a number far below the 400 recorded in 2000. However, after a review of the Red List of endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, in June 2015, the Iberian lynx was no longer considered internationally as a critically endangered animal, though it continues to be an endangered species. In 2002, the situation was complex; the Iberian lynx was critically endangered and in Portugal, no specimen had been seen in the wild since the beginning of the 1990s. Portugal and Spain have joined forces for its preservation, and the number of lynx has tripled from 52 to 156 in ten years, i.e. from 2002 to 2012. Since then, in the Iberian Peninsula, the program to reintroduce the lynx has been stepped up, with five centres of breeding in captivity, one in Portugal and four in Spain. There are currently eleven lynx in Portugal.

In 2004, the League for the Protection of Nature, in partnership with the international organization Fauna & Flora, launched the Lynx Program to ensure the conservation and long-term management of areas with Mediterranean habitat, such as cork oak forests. One of the objectives of the program was to demonstrate that local economic activities, such as the exploitation of cork, may be compatible with the conservation of habitats and endangered species.

Among the TOP 5 of the most threatened and emblematic species of Portugal, the WWF highlights the Iberian lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle.

http://www.apcor.pt/en/ 


My Main Accessory November 16, 2015 11:50

Cork Backpack, my main accessory. An outfit is not complete without accessories. My zebra knapsack from Cork Design is a perfect way to add some pop! to my outfit. It is the perfect size for someone like me who is on the go. It also helps that the backpack is fairly small so that I only carry what I need. I only keep the essentials: wallet, cell phone, diapers, wipies and a couple onesies. Yes, I said it, diapers and wipies. For an active mother this bag is perfect for quick trips to the grocery store. The bag itself is very lightweight, and not to mention it’s water resistant so you don’t have to worry much about spilt milk, if you know what I mean moms. As for how to dress with this backpack, you can do go as simple as some sneakers with jeans and a t-shirt or you can throw some heels on for a night out.

Lifestyle blogger - Alexxa Kovacs

How to Shuck an Oyster October 12, 2015 15:49

Yep, it is that time of year.  Here is something you just need to know from our friends at Goop!

How to shuck and oyster

 


New York Fashion Week September 16, 2015 11:54

Only one day left of New York Fashion Week.  Here is a great live link to everything fashionable.

newyorkfashionweeklive.com


New Fall Handbags September 14, 2015 12:20

When you invest in a handbag, chances are you wear it to absolute death. Sometimes, after weeks (or months!) of toting your go-to crossbody or satchel, you don’t even want toknow what lies at the bottom of that black hole. And unfortunately, the less expensive bags also start to fall apart at the seams — handles unravel, zippers and buttons break, and the shape gets all sorts of wonky. Needless to say, bag fatigue is a harsh reality — I can’t even bear to lay eyes on the shearling tote I carried all of last fall and winter, I’m just that sick of it. So the new season is the perfect time to refresh this essential part of your wardrobe.

It may not be time quite yet to swap your tanks and shorts for scarves and sweaters, but it is time to start thinking about quick ways to revamp your look for fall. And the easiest way to do that is with a killer on-trend bag for fall.

From structured shapes to mixed materials, fall's bold bag trends should be embraced with open arms. Not only are they practical, but they can even take the laziest girls’ everyday jeans-and-a-tee outfit to the next level. 

Shop our trendy bags.

           

 


Mazari September 08, 2015 12:32

If you don't follow Mazari you should.  

Beautiful photography and fashion. We especially like this Cork Design tote.

Shop our Molly Tote here:

Zebra or Natural

 

 


Thank you Nike! August 31, 2015 13:38

We love seeing cork "running" around everywhere. 

The Nike Air Force 1 Mid & Nike Blazer Mid are dressed up in an all-cork constructed upper, (a matching cork strap for the Air Force 1,) black Swoosh logos, bright crimson orange accents, a contrasting white midsole, a matching crimson rubber outsole, black laces, and black textile insole and lining.

You can find these at The Chimp Store. Shown below is the Nike Blazer Mid.

 

 


White Oak Plantation August 21, 2015 13:48

This was shared from our friend's at White Oak Plantation. We are so happy to have this organization practically in our backyard.

Remember we told you last week that we had a little baby boom going on at White Oak? Well that little baby boom continues with a not-so-little baby. Say hello to the latest addition to our white rhino herd! This little female was born on August 12th to Lynne, one of 18 white rhinos living at White Oak. These photos, by Collection Manager Karen Meeks, were taken shortly after the calf was born.
The calf is the mother's first since arriving at White Oak two years ago from our conservation partners at the Houston Zoo. White Oak has had a long relationship with the Houston Zoo and we are happy to share in this joyful news with them.
Learn more about white rhinos on our website: http://bit.ly/1ssWsWg and check out Houston's news on their blog page: http://bit.ly/1Pk3fKg

Welcome to the world, baby girl!

 

 


THE SKIN WE WEAR August 04, 2015 14:19

We all share common traits as humans, but none more visible then what covers our entire body, SKIN. It serves as an element of our beauty, an indicator of our past, a obsession of our vanity, but most of all a shield to our body. Although it is essential to our survival, over time we have adopted second skins to layer upon our body's, only to serve the same purpose our own skin serves but at a heighted degree. To name the most obvious, Animal skins have been used since man has stood upright, and as we are all aware, are widely used to this day. Technology has allowed us to recreate these animal skins to cut down on cost of production and as a positive byproduct, lessen the amount of animals killed and environmental damage in processing. With this being said, alternative materials such as artificial leather, faux fur, pleather, moleskin, Koskin (used in HP computer bags), ultrasuede, poromerics, all come from synthetic materials such as polyester and polyurethane and generally don’t give a lot back to the environment.

 

                                   

 http://www.shopcorkdesign.com/collections/jungle

Thankfully, due to the fast moving popularity of sustainability and eco awareness, positive alternatives to our second skins are slowly trickling onto the market. One such advancement, although not at new idea, is cork. Although or first thought might go to the porous board you pin your bills onto or the plug at the end of your wine bottle, cork has been used in the clothing trade for some time and is now finding a new use as an alternative to leather.

 

Durable, natural(ecologically sound), biodegradable, and of course 100% cruelty free, Cork Leather textiles have more benefits then most people may think. As for texture, it feels like no other material on the market, soft to the touch but with the firmness of leather (since it is wood). Stable, its wear resistance is due to its chemical and physical structure and is close to immune to micro-organisms. Considering its low surface dust absorption level, its hypoallergenic, and with proper surface coatings, dust, dirt and grease repellent properties as well.

The best element about this material is that it is truly sustainable. The cork oak tree is not required to be cut down as only the bark is peeled off and the tree is allowed to regenerate. “The cork oak is a slow growing tree that can live from 170 to 250 years, which enables the stripping and harvesting of the cork to occur 16 times during its lifetime on average. The harvesting cycle typically occurs every 9-12 years, but only occurs once the tree is allowed to mature from sapling to an age of approximately 25-30 years, at which time the trunk has at least a circumference of 70 cm.” 

So many companies are realizing the sustainable material movement is not just a passing faze( as with the organic food market) and are tapping into the potential of this market. As with organic food, the sustainable fabrics market has started off pricy (cork fabric starting off at $169 yrd), but with time and investment in the advancement of technology with materials, prices will even out.