At Corkcentric we envision a sustainable tomorrow built together on the collective impact of today. We are led by a grand vision of sustainable materialism and a simple principle: Be Mindful.
We imagine people as trees in a forest, each of us one with Nature and living in harmony. To realize our imagination, we’ve partnered with like-minded factories who source only the purest, most sustainable cork on Earth. We look to be more open in all that we do. And, we collaborate with you, our community members, to create the loveliest collections imaginable. All to help save tomorrow – today.
HOW IT'S MADE
From being planted to hitting your hands, your cork is ethically sourced with the utmost care and skill. Our process ensures the highest degree of material quality, craftsmanship, and sustainability.
Why choose cork?
Simply put: Cork combines the best of both animal and vegan leathers. Except it's lighter, more durable, sustainable, cruelty-free and ethically produced.
Zero toxins – No toxins are used at any point in the harvesting, processing or production of cork. Once harvested, huge pieces of cork are boiled in water for ~48 hours to make them pliable. That water is filtered and reused in the future, too.
Zero waste - Any excess cork created during production is up-cycled into thousands of different products. Once produced, cork is biodegradable, renewable and easily recycled for life.
Harvested, never felled – Cork trees aren't cut down. They're harvested (as shown above) every 9 years. Multiple generations grow in the same forests, so each year sees a new harvest. This aids in global CO2 absorption. In fact, harvested cork trees absorb 3-5x more CO2 than non-harvested. In Portugal alone, cork forests offset 10+ million tons of carbon every year.
Exploitation for good – The exploitation of cork forests is a surprisingly good thing. It means higher CO2 absorption rates and improved wildlife habitat protection. And the preservation of traditional hand skills and local farming practices. Plus the production of goods that are truly recyclable and biodegradable.
Biodiversity – Cork oak forests are second only to the Amazon rainforest in biodiversity. Home to 135 plant species and 42 bird species, many of which are endangered, some critically so. And nearly all of the plant species protected have some form of aromatic, culinary, or medicinal use.
Earth’s lungs – Cork oak forests, referred to as montados, are the lungs of the environment, the economy and the society of Mediterranean countries. They play such a key role for Nature and local people that they’re protected by law. In Portugal, the largest cork oak forested area in the world, it’s the national tree and has been protected by law since the 13th century.
Reforestation – Increased awareness of the value of cork ecosystems has sparked important initiatives in reforestation and the systematisation of good practices. It’s a way of ensuring our future by being mindful of the present. As the old Portuguese proverb goes, “Whoever cares for their grandchildren, plants a cork oak.” Reforestation also conserves soil by protecting against wind erosion, increasing the filter rate of rainwater and recharging groundwater.
Job creation – Cork is a vital source of employment at regional and rural levels. The forests practically guarantee the survival of local communities. It has been estimated that over 100,000 people in the seven Mediterranean cork-producing countries depend directly and indirectly on cork-based economies.
Ecological balance – Careful management of cork forests brings sustainable cork production and the potential for a diverse range of goods to be harvested. A harmonious balance is maintained as a result. And, local needs are met without damaging the ecosystem. Or threatening the long-term sustainability of an important natural resource.
Isn’t cork endangered?
Nope. There's actually enough harvested cork available now for all humans for another 100 years.
Doesn't harvesting kill the trees?
Nope again. It’s like shearing a sheep, except with a tree. It's good for the tree. It helps the tree grow. It improves the environment. It improves our lives. See the pattern?
How does it work? How's it made?
Each harvest (as shown above), groups of men skilled with special axes cut into the bark just so. Large sections are removed and taken to a processing facility to be boiled in water for ~48 hours. Then left out to dry in the sun for another 48 hours or so. After, the pieces are cut into strips and placed on a fabric backing for support.
Is it made in America?
The cork in all of our products is grown and produced in Portugal. All 100k+ workers in the cork industry are paid fair wages and work fair hours under fair conditions.
How's it feel? What's it feel like?
Soft and smooth but tougher than most other fabrics. Plus it's lightweight, waterproof, and stain/fire/scratch resistant, too. Meaning it's super easy to maintain no matter what you put it through.
Doesn't cork fall apart or crumble?
Your run of the mill cork board, sure. But, as with the wine it's normally associated with, cork comes in a variety of quality levels. From Grade A to Grade D. The highest quality, untainted cork comes from Portugal and takes 9 years or more on average before being harvested. We use that cork in our goods. Side note: if you're big into wine, you'd be happy to note that the better the cork (Grade A being best) the better the wine. The cork stoppers used in Dom Perignon, for instance, go for $120 a pop.
Does it only come in the tan color?
Great question! And no. Cork fabric can actually be made into any color, texture or patterned design imaginable. Want something we don’t have? Or curious if we can make something in particualr? Send us a detailed note and we’ll see what we can do. If it can be done, there's a good chance we'll do it. Who knows, we might even let you name it...
What about other products? Like shoes or jewelry?
Glad you asked! As versatile as cork is in color, texture & pattern, it’s nearly just as versatile in the variety of products that can be made from it. We’re starting with handbags and backpacks, but we’ll add new designs and product categories as we grow. The possibilities are endless! Got an idea for a product or particular color, pattern or texture you'd like to see? Let's talk - democratizing sustainable fashion is a collaborative effort.