What is cork fabric?
Cork fabric is a natural and eco-friendly material made from the bark of the cork oak tree.
We use it for our earrings due to it’s high-durability and a unique look. It’s also waterproof, stain resistant, and easy to maintain making it a perfect alternative to animal leather.
Why not other vegan leather materials?
Other vegan leathers tend to be made from plastic. These can take up to 500 years to degrade and pose a big risk to our oceans and environment. In contrast cork decreases air pollution as a harvested tree absorbs 3-5 times more carbon dioxide.
Chere from Eluxe Magazine says:
Cork is widely regarded as being one of the most ecologically friendly materials around. It’s easily recycled, completely natural, and using Cork Oak forests for industry helps prevent desertification and deforestation. Mainly harvested from Southern Europe, there is a particular Cork forest in the Iberian Peninsula that is essential to the protection of endangered species in the region.
Our cork comes in a range of on-trend colours and is hypoallergenic, anti-fungal, stain resistant, and incredibly lightweight.
How cork fabric is made
The cork tree is native to coastal areas of Portugal , Spain and France. Once the tree is 25-30 years old it can start being harvested. Skilled workers called “extractors” carefully remove the bark without damaging the underlying layers of the tree. These harvested portions are called plants. Once the bark is carefully removed from the tree it is boiled in water to break down the cellular structure and make it easier to work with. The cork is then left for 6 months to dry out. The blocks of cork are then cut into thin sheets and a fabric backing is attached. This hard work results in the earrings you receive today.
Cork fabric is produced without harming any animal or plant, No trees are cut down and removing the bark is beneficial to its growth. It is bio-degradable and 100% natural. The cork oaks themselves grown in forests, without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers and the forests are actually also the home to the endangered Iberian Lynx. Due to there being no toxic chemicals involved in production, harvesting or processing of cork fabric it is a great eco-friendly and sustainable material.
From material to earrings
Once the material gets to me in the UK I use a manual die cutter to cut the earring shapes. The manual die does not use electricity. The die cutters themselves are made of wood and steel blades. I offer a range of sizes to ensure I can use the most amount of material. I start with big statement earrings such as lightning bolts then gradually use smaller dies down to a 4mm circle for stud earrings. What little is left is then repurposed by another small business into parts of costumes. I also double side some of my range with washable plant paper. This paper is produced from cellulose fiber – a substrate of wood. It is an environmentally friendly and sustainable material, accredited by both the Forestry Stewardship Council and Oeko-Tex. It is a vegan friendly material and another viable alternative to many leather-based products. This is also manufactured in Europe.
I offset the carbon emissions of postage and plant a tree for every order using Ecologi. My packaging is either recyclable and recycled custom card pouchettes designed and made in Nottingham by a small business or recycled plastic gift boxes made in Denmark.