Along with design, I have always been obsessed with the world of new materials. The applications for new materials could transform our world in phenomenal ways and have been the most influential driving force that inspired me to start the FABRIKK brand.
We work with a number of new materials, but most importantly we love working with the new materials made from cork. Cork is the bark from the Cork Oak Tree, an ancient raw material that is sustainably cultivated and now being processed in many new ways.
One of the latest advances includes the revolutionary cork 'leather' material that can be used in the fashion and upholstery industry. Proving to be a perfect alternative to traditional aminal skins being cruelty-free and earth positive. The cork industry supports local skilled workers, preserves/creates our precious forests and depleting wildlife, instead of destroying them for more agricultural land and the aftermath of cruelty, death, and pollution this comes with it. Toxic pollution killing rivers, sea life and the people who have to treat and tan the leathers, linked to cancer and other neurological diseases, is enough to promise we will never work with animal's skins.
'Kanpur, a city in Uttar Pradesh, is famous for its leather industry, with nearly 400 tanneries housed in the suburbs of Jajmau alone. The industry has become a bane for the Ganga as it contaminates it severely with a heavy load of toxic chemicals and heavy metals such as chromium, cadmium, lead, arsenic and cobalt, all of which have severe health implications.'
If anyone ever tells you leather is a byproduct of the meat industry, this simply isn't true, common sense and the maths tells it differently. When leather reaches a far higher price than meat, meat that is waisted daily by the tonne and the skins are now stockpiled in warehouses the size of football pitches in Italy alone, do we really need all this leather if at all?
Cork 'leather' is also amazing because it is extremely versatile, with endless possibilities in color and texture, from plain, smooth cork textures to embossed textured python skin mimicked with printed effects. The fact that one material can become so many things with endless possibilities for bespoke design means we could potentially work with this everchanging material forever.
I found this amazing video below on YouTube about the harvesting and production processes of cork into many everyday items
Cork 'leather' has many built-in advantages, here is a list of reason why you will love cork!
- Eco-Friendly - Since the harvested cork oak trees absorb 3-5 times more carbon dioxide than the unharvested ones, the usage of cork leather helps with cleaning the polluted air.
- Natural - It is made from the bark of cork oak.
- Unique - cork has a distinctive pattern, no two pieces are the same, making it totally unique.
- Sustainable -The bark of cork oaks rebuilds itself every 9 years which making cork leather is a great example of a sustainable material.
- Plant-based - made from the bark of the tree, cork is a cruelty-free fabric that provides a protective habitat for animals to flourish.
- Soft - Cork leather, despite coming from a tree, is a very soft material with a silky soft touch, each finish will have a different and pleasant feel.
- Waterproof - Cork is waterproof, that's why it makes for a great material to make our hats, especially in the British weather!
- Easy to clean - Cork 'leather' can be easily spot cleaned with natural, non-toxic soap and dries within 5-10 minutes.
- Stain Resistant - Cork 'leather' has great stain and watermark stain resistance
- Scratch Resistant - Doesn't scratch like leather.
- Slow Burning - The cork bark naturally protects the trees from forest fires and makes a great fire and heat resistant materials. NASA uses cork to protect some of its rockets.
- Durable - can be produced in endless thicknesses, strengths, textures, patterns, etc.
- Lightweight - thanks to its ethereal structure; more than 50% of its volume being air. Cork is a is an impermeable buoyant material capable of floating and making an incredibly lightweight and strong material.
- Elastic - Due to the presence of air in it, it is a very elastic material. New laminating processes allow for the cork to be made into strong, flexible materials perfect for the fashion and upholstery industries.
- Colors - Cork can be produced in any color or pattern that the creative mind can think of. Imagine this for years to come!
- Insulating - Cork’s conductivity to vibrations, heat, and sound is very low, making it a great protective material, the world needs more of that.
- Hypoallergenic – Cork doesn’t absorb dust so people with various allergies and asthma can use it without any problems.
With all these great reasons to use cork, we are so proud to be supporting the industry and to promote an animal-free alternative that is better for the planet.
Fabrikk ethically sources all our cork from Portugal and Italy and all our accessories are handcrafted in the UK. Proudly made in Britain, you can shop our collection of cork handbags, hats, accessories and wearable tech here