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.”