Cork Fabric: The Sustainable, Vegan, Responsible Choice

Cork Fabric: The Sustainable, Vegan, Responsible Choice

Why You Need Cork Fabric In Your Life: A Sustainable Fashion Choice

Cork fabric, a natural fiber-based material, is a true vegan option and the future of sustainable fashion. Learn more about it here.

Cork leather as a piece of fabric


Although it does not have the notoriety of, say, the oil industry, fashion is making a significant contribution to global warming - according to the McKinsey Fashion on Climate research, the fashion industry was responsible for 2.1 billion metric tonnes of GHG emissions in 2018. To put things in perspective, the fashion industry's yearly GHG emissions equal the combined annual emissions of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

In recent years, there has been a rising interest in and demand for sustainable fashion. Nonetheless, sustainability has become a buzzword. For sustainability, the fashion industry is pushing forward with vegan accessories such as cork.

Sure, it originates from a tree, but is cork fabric sustainable? And does it have a place in our ethical fashion wardrobes?

Cork extraction in Portugal by my family's small business


What is cork fabric?

As we get a deeper awareness of the effects of our actions on the environment and the world, a change in materials is necessary for sustainable fashion. Natural Cork Fabric is water-repellent, stain-resistant, and scratch-proof silky fabric created from the bark of cork oak trees.

Cork is a sustainable fiber obtained from the bark of the cork oak tree. For cork extraction, no trees are chopped down; the cork oak is simply peeled. The tree is hand-peeled. Experienced harvesters use an axe to scrape the bark from the oak tree during this operation.

This long-lasting and renewable natural resource can be used to create a broad range of items, including eco-friendly wallets, purses, and accessories. Cork fabric or leather can also be utilized as a lining or inner supporting structure in corsets, belts, headgear, furniture, and even shoes.

Cork fabric is made by layering a single layer of natural cork on top of the backing. The backing is often made of a cotton/polyester mix or a polyurethane fabric. Cork can be applied in a number of ways, including patchwork and thin strips, and it can be dyed in a range of colors.

Some cork fabrics have a pattern printed on them or metallic motifs applied to them, making them quite attractive for usage in various goods.

Raw cork that then becomes the most sustainable fabric


Why is cork fabric the best vegan option? 

Cork is a great material that can be used for a variety of tasks, including home decor. It is a lightweight, long-lasting material with a soft hand feel. It's also completely organic, biodegradable, and recyclable.

Cork is becoming increasingly popular, and it is being adopted by sustainable fashion and textile manufacturers to address customer demands for environmentally friendly, ethical, and cost-effective accessories.

Cork represents the fashion industry's future. It contributes to the development of a sustainable, local, and responsible economy. Cork has a role to play in the growth of the ethical clothing industry. 

The process of creating our natural cork fabric


Is cork fabric truly ethical and eco-friendly?

Can we say unequivocally, cork is a sustainable option after learning what it is?

To begin with, the cork oak tree has a lifespan of roughly two centuries. Virgin cork is not removed from saplings until the 25th year, and reproduction cork (the first cycle) may not be removed for another 9-12 years and only by hand to protect the tree. It's a government-managed procedure.

But wait, there's more! Cork woods are also among the most biodiverse regions globally, having more species per square meter than the Amazon rainforest! These woods, also known as montados, are extremely diverse and benefit both the local environment and the economic health of the community.

Cork is beneficial in terms of ecology since it can be used repeatedly. Cork harvesting also minimizes greenhouse gas emissions since it sequesters a lot of carbon dioxide throughout the bark-producing process.

Consider this: cork oaks that are harvested on a regular basis generate 250-400% more cork in their lives than those that are not. And, when the tree attempts to regrow its bark, it sequesters a significant quantity of CO2, as evidenced by the fact that cork forests sequester around 5.7 tonnes of carbon yearly.


To summarize, cork manufacturing is not only ecologically friendly, but it is also commercially feasible, benefiting small farmers and local businesses.

Tiradia uses only premium natural cork from Portugal, the highest quality cork fabric. We provide the highest quality and widest selection of cork fabrics; our bespoke collection includes sustainable fabrics, distinctive designs, shades, and other unique cork materials. Explore the range of exclusive cork accessories available.

Cork products

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I wonder if you offer shipping in Europe as well

Veronica Lane

Hi Emilie! Thank you so much for the kind words. We will continue to invest in blog articles regarding our products, cork and sustainability in 2023. We are hoping to educate and inspire all of our customers to want to make a positive difference in the world.

Joana (Tiradia Cork's Team)

Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for the read + your comment. We use the highest quality of natural cork for our lifestyle accessories so the fabric won’t crack or crumble. In fact, the quality and suppleness of cork fabric products can be compared to those made of leather. However, unlike leather, it’s natural (no tanning), waterproof and scratch-resistant. It is also very easy to maintain and clean: warm water and neutral soap will do the trick! It will age, but will do so nicely. It should last you for years to come, with added character. Before we even started Tiradia, I had one of our current seamstresses hand-craft what’s now the Just Right wallet and it still looks beautiful, 10 years later. Thank you so much!

Joana (Tiradia Cork's Team)

Great post, how durable is cork for wallets?


Very interesting!! I love being surprised by such marvelous new products. Thanks for sharing

Emilie Bratt

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