Fabrics: Cork & the International brand built on it

Charlie Bradley Ross Friday, 1 June 2018

You may be surprised to hear that not one single tree is cut down when extracting cork from trees. Instead, the bark is peeled away, and then the cork is carefully extracted by highly skilled harvesters. The trees are in no way damaged and the cork is naturally renewable and grows back after nine years, preserving the forest in its entirety and enabling continuous harvesting with no damage to the forest or ecosystem.

Not only this but across Portugal, Southern France, Southern Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Turkey are swathes of ancient cork oak forests home to endangered and rare species such as the Short-Toed Eagle, the Egyptian Mongoose, the Barbary deer and the Iberian Lynx, as well as biologically important flora and fungi. The presence of the forest also prevents the soil from drying out and turning into a dust bowl.

Pros for using cork fabrics:
  • Easy to Cut & Sew: you don’t need any special tools or equipment to sew with cork fabric.
  • Extremely Lightweight: 50% of its volume is air, which both makes it ideal for bags and laptop carriers, but also for reduced shipping costs.
  • Easy to Maintain & Clean: wipe clean with soap and water periodically. Cork fabric is also stain resistant.
  • Water Resistant: use in a product to keep items dry.
  • Long Lasting & Durable: cork ages without deteriorating mainly due to its resistance to moisture. Cork cells are packed tightly together in radial rows. This honeycomb structure makes cork extremely durable and abrasion resistant.
  • Hypoallergenic: cork is not allergy-proof, but it is very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. It is very gentle on your skin, which makes it ideal for bags, home décor, and craft projects.
  • Soft & Unique: feels like a quality leather because it’s soft, smooth and pliable. It’s not hard or brittle. No two pieces of cork fabric are alike.
  • 100% Sustainable: the Cork Oak is the only tree in the world that can have its bark removed and survive, thus making the harvesting of cork 100% sustainable. The same tree can be harvested every nine years. Some trees have been harvested for over 200 years.
  • Chemical Free Production

With all of these benefits, I was keen to find out how to incorporate this environmentally-friendly marvel into fashion and interior products. So we jumped on an interview with entrepreneur and force of nature, Rui Tati, who, among many other achievements, is owner & CEO of Pelcor.

Pelcor is a Portuguese brand of fashion and lifestyle accessories that use cork as the main raw material. I was excited to interview Rui, not just to find out about the incredible raw material itself, but the strategy they've used to build an International brand from this underused, ethical material.


In this video, you'll learn:

  • How Rui Tati came to own Pelcor and top tips for entrepreneurs
  • The products Pelcor make out of cork
  • The benefits of the cork material and how to care for it
  • The business strategy behind the brand
  • Getting into concept stores and speciality stores
  • The future of the brand

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