by Lana McGhee
The vision for Forester Products has always been clear; to create exceptional vegan alternatives to classic leather accessories. Which material we used, however, caused more consideration.
We knew our products had to look and feel like leather, but of equal importance was quality and sustainability.
After many weeks of research, we made the definitive decision to use cork for our first range. Often described as ‘Nature’s leather’, cork is harvested from the Quercus suber, (also known as the cork oak tree) native to Northern Africa and Southern Europe. We traveled to Portugal last year to educate ourselves on both the material its production. During our trip, we learned how truly conscious and sustainable the production process is.
The tree must first reach the age of 20 years old before it will ever be harvested. Once mature, the outer bark is carefully removed and the tree is unharvested for the next seven to ten years. This period encourages full regrowth of the outer bark and prepares the tree for the next harvest.
Each tree can live 200 - 300 years and no tree is ever killedduring the harvesting. The positive environmental impact of cork harvesting is spectacular; the process absorbs CO2 emissions between 3-5 times more than unharvested trees. In Portugal specifically, harvesting reduces global CO2 emissions by 10million tonnes annually.
The raw bark is then boiled to expand its natural cells giving it flexibility. A natural sealant is added to protect it. The cork is then cut, dyed and applied to other materials such as cotton, to create our vegan leather products.
By using cork, we have created products which are both soft and strong. Our range has been designed for the every day, not yesterday. Each piece has been created with consideration, consciousness, and innovation.
Cork's beauty is boundless; its natural properties give every piece its own unique identity. Every vegan leather bag, belt, and wallet is completely unique to you. Sustainable, stunning and durable, cork is living innovation.
Shop our full rangeof cork leather belts, bags and wallets now.