How Durable is Cork Fabric?

I’m really late to the party as usual, but I have fallen in love with this great fabric which is one of the best vegan and Eco-friendly fabrics out there.  I have been creating an entire collection of bags with cork and am in awe of the look it gives to each one.  Cork has the look of rustic, traditional glam without the harm leather products have to our planet.  

Before I started working with cork, I had nightmare visions of how it may crack or crumble.  I guess the only contact I had with cork was with wine bottles and coasters.  You know which ones I mean right? The coasters that sort of retain the mark of the bottom of a mug every time you put something wet on it? I think those nightmares really hindered my attempt in trying it out in my creations.  

All I can say is it’s never too late because now I love working with cork plus it comes in so many different colours and patterns.  I’ve assembled the basics you need to know about cork here for you.  

Cork fabric is harvested from a specific type of tree mainly in Portugal.  After the tree bark has been naturally harvested, it is left to air dry for six months, then it is boiled and steamed to reach the ideal elasticity.  Cork is the perfect replacement for animal leather, as it has the same sort of thickness, but is more flexible and easy to work with even on domestic sewing machines.  Heat and pressure are applied to the boiled cork, to condense it into blocks, which then transforms it into sheets on rolls which can then be made into beautiful accessories and homeware.  Unlike the heavy chemical processing of leather, the cork fabric making process is completely chemical free.  


Embrace it’s lightness 

This is one of the biggest advantages in using cork fabric and in the products we make using cork.  More than 50% of its volume is air, making it lightweight without losing any of its durability.  Imagine carrying a laptop bag that is heavier than the bag? Who would want that? 


Water Resistance 

Cork wallets, pouches, and bags are great places to keep electronics in, as it has a water resistant feature very little know about.  As not all styles of our products have cork on the entire exterior, this can only be said for our cork tablet case and cork phone pouches.  Other cork products which only have a small part being cork do not have this wonderful water resistant feature.  The suberin covering (a waterproofing waxy substance) present in the cell walls make cork virtually impermeable to liquids and gases.


Wear and tear resistance 

Cork wallets are very sturdy and will last you a lifetime, even if you carry them daily in your jeans’ pocket; other cork accessories are just as resistant. Thanks to its honeycomb structure, cork is highly abrasion resistant and has a high friction coefficient. That’s why cork is a go to material even for institutions such as NASA.  


Slow burning 

We hope you won’t ever need to test this, but hey… you never know! The slow combustion of cork makes it a natural fire retardant and a kind of barrier against fire. This is something you cannot say for leather, which in most cases has chemicals in them that accelerates the burning.  


How does it wear over time? 

You are probably wondering how cork will be in the coming years as you wear them daily?  The only material you can compare the wear to of cork, is leather.  As with vinyl or cotton, it does not hold up the wear half as well as cork fabric products.  Cork can last a lifetime as the way to clean it is just with soap and water.  Like every other thing under the sun, cork does age, it darkens if sat in the sun for a long period of time, but its age reflects a unique pattern, no two pieces of cork is created equal.  


If you still have doubts and questions about cork fabric or the products we make using cork, please get in touch with me directly at maker@siraeya.com . I will always try to answer them to the best of my knowledge, and if I can’t I will happily research it for you in order to install peace of mind when purchasing on of my creations. 



 

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