Cork as a Material

Cork Material
Cork is a material you can truly feel good about; it is a renewable, natural material, helps absorb CO2, and is completely vegan and cruelty-free. We like to think of cork as nature's leather. It delivers durability superior to leather, without the nasty chemicals or moral dilemma. Kinder to people, kinder to animals, kinder to the planet.

Where does cork come from?

Cork comes from the bark of the Quercus suber, more commonly known as the cork oak tree. Cork oak trees are found throughout southwestern Europe and northwestern Africa in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Portugal has the largest population of cork oak trees in the world, and also leads the world in cork production, producing over 50% of the world's cork supply. In Portugal, it is illegal to cut down a cork without special permission from the government.

 

 

How is cork sustainable?

Cork is a natural material that helps sequester CO2, a major contributor to global warming. Cork comes from the bark of a tree but no cork trees are harmed or cut down during harvest. Cork oak trees typically live between 150 to 200 years tree and are harvested once every 9 years. That means each cork tree is harvested over 50 times throughout its life, making cork a renewable material.

The act of harvesting cork trees actually helps in the fight against climate change because harvested trees absorb CO2 as they regenerate bark. Harvested cork trees absorb 3-5 times more CO2 than non-harvested cork trees.

Unlike leather, which has a chemical and energy-intensive tanning process, the process of transforming cork bark into fabric is quite simple and free of nasty chemicals.

 

 

How is cork fabric made?

  1. Bark is harvested from the cork oak tree by "tiradores" or "cork strippers" who use handheld axes to carefully peel the bark from the tree.
  2. Cork bark is boiled and steamed to make the material more flexible and manageable.
  3. Heat and pressure are applied to press the cork into blocks.
  4. Cork blocks are sliced into thin sheets and glued to a fabric backing to create cork fabric.

 

 

What are the benefits of cork?

Even though it may have a simple production process, cork has some amazing qualities.

 

  • Cork is resistant to liquids. Cork has a natural cell membrane that makes it completely impermeable to liquids and gases. Spill something on your bag? Caught in the rain? No worries! Liquids will not damage your cork bag.

 

  • Cork is vegan. Cork is made from tree bark, not animal skin. No animals (or trees!) are harmed in the process of making cork fabric.

 

  • Cork is easy to clean. Since cork is impermeable to liquids, it is very easy to clean. All you need to do is give your bag a wipe with a damp cloth and maybe some soap and it will be good as new.

 

  • Cork is super lightweight. When people hold a Quirk bag for the first time, they always say, "It's so light!" That's because of cork's honeycomb cell structure cell, which is made up of lots of tiny air pockets.

 

  • Cork is soft. Cork is incredibly soft and smooth to the touch. It's so soft, you're probably going to find yourself stroking your bag from time to time.
 
  • Cork is durable. Thanks to a high friction coefficient, cork stands up to the general wear and tear a typical purse might experience.

  • Cork is pliable. Cork cell membranes are extremely flexible, so cork will always return to its original shape, no matter what sort of pressure it is put under.