Where Our Cork Fabric Comes From

LAFLORE PARIS

cork bark

Did you know that cork is one of the most versatile and eco-friendly products on our planet? Cork bark can be harvested repeatedly without harming the tree and made into a variety of different applications. On top of that, one tree alone can produce hundreds of pounds of cork over its lifetime.


Keep reading to learn more about cork material and where Laflore Paris sources their cork fabric.

WHERE CORK GROWS

Cork is native to Southwestern Europe and Northwestern Africa. Cork oak trees prefer to grow in warm regions with mostly dry soil. Most cork is exported from Portugal and Spain. In fact, cork is one of Portugal’s largest exports and accounts for more than 50% of the world's cork supply.

Cork forests are essential for protecting the biodiversity of their respective regions. Forests full of cork oak trees can be home to endangered species, including the Iberian Lynx which is native to northern Portugal and southern Spain. 

CORK HARVESTING PROCESS

The cork harvesting process is always done with ultimate care to protect the cork tree. For most tress, bark is an essential protection from the elements and predation - if you remove the bark, you kill the tree. However, on cork trees, the bark is secondary growth and can be removed without harming the tree.

First, the bark is carefully removed from the tree. This is done by hand by experienced workers. Workers use a specialized cork axe or machete to meticulously pull the bark away from the trunk of the tree. This often requires multiple people to execute properly.

Fortunately, the bark removal process actually helps the cork tree regenerate and does not harm the tree at all.

The harvesting process jumpstarts a period of new growth, and cork trees absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while releasing more oxygen during this time.

Cork trees can live for over a hundred years (the oldest cork tree is over 200 years old!), so the cork harvesting process is renewable and sustainable.


1. After the bark is harvested, it’s stacked outside to dry and cure in the sun. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The bark is ready for the next step after they’ve released some of their moisture and flattened out.

2. After the cork bark lays flat, the cork is boiled and washed. At this point, the bark is usually treated with a fungicide to stop any potentially damaging spores that could degrade the quality of the cork.

3. Once the cork skin has been treated, poor quality cork will be scraped off. The remaining high-quality cork will be cured a second time, this time inside of a production plant that can control the humidity.

4. The cork is now ready to be processed into wine corks, cork fabric, fishing nets, flooring, and more. The cork can now be cut, rolled, pressed, or treated again. What the cork is treated with depends on the applications it’s being prepared for. For example, it’s common for wine corks to be treated with hydrogen peroxide to inhibit bacterial growth.

5. Best of all, no cork goes to waste. Leftover cork from the manufacturing process is chipped and made into corkboard, construction products, or insulation.

If you’d like to learn more about the cork material process, please read our full guide on the
Ultimate Guide to Cork Material.

HOW BARK IS TURNED INTO FABRIC

In order to turn cork bark into cork fabric, Laflore Paris works with a high-quality cork supplier to achieve the signature “leather-like” feel of our vegan cork purses.
The process is simple, but requires high-quality materials and attention to detail to ensure the end product is light, flexible, and durable.


1. After processing, the cork bark is rolled into thin sheets.

2. Once the desired thickness is achieved, the cork is dyed using natural, plant-based dyes.

3. After that, a backing is attached to the fabric.

LAFLORE CORK HANDBAGS

Laflore Paris only sources cork from sustainable harvesters that ensure the prolonged protection of cork trees. We work with reputable suppliers in Portugal who are aligned with our eco-friendly practices.

Portugal is deeply concerned with protecting their cork oak forests. For example, in Portugal, it’s illegal to cut down cork trees unless it’s under special circumstances for forest management reasons.

Once we receive the cork material from our supplier, skilled artisans familiar with special textiles craft our purses and accessories. Every single bag is handmade, we don’t use large machines or mass produce products. For more information about how our production process is in line with our eco-friendly values, read our Eco-Friendly Promise.

Shop Eco-Friendly Purses

Our cork fabric is 100% vegan, cruelty free, flexible, durable, waterproof, and sourced ethically. Try it out for yourself!

LAFLORE CORK HANDBAGS

Laflore Paris only sources cork from sustainable harvesters that ensure the prolonged protection of cork trees. We work with reputable suppliers in Portugal who are aligned with our eco-friendly practices.

Portugal is deeply concerned with protecting their cork oak forests. For example, in Portugal, it’s illegal to cut down cork trees unless it’s under special circumstances for forest management reasons.

Once we receive the cork material from our supplier, skilled artisans familiar with special textiles craft our purses and accessories. Every single bag is handmade, we don’t use large machines or mass produce products. For more information about how our production process is in line with our eco-friendly values, read our Eco-Friendly Promise.

Shop Eco-Friendly Purses

Our cork fabric is 100% vegan, cruelty free, flexible, durable, waterproof, and sourced ethically. Try it out for yourself!