Fair Fashion,  Featured

Cork Accessories: Renewable, Waterproof, Biodegradable and Chic

Eve Cork Bags Bora Tote

After spotting a gorgeous cork handbag at Brooklyn Flea (which was just a one-off by a handbag designer there), I have become a bit obsessed with the material. It’s not just for wedges/heels anymore, but a natural material with a soft touch and an understated pattern. Some even call it “vegan leather” as it shares a lot in common with leather in terms of how it’s used for bags and wallets.

Two companies we like:

Corkor’s cork bags are Made in Portugal.

Eve’s Cork Bags are also ethically Made in Portugal.

Corkor Cork Saddle Bag

Cork is ultra-sustainable since it’s harvested from naturally growing cork farms which support a wide variety of animal life. Some cork farms are even protected because they are such valuable wildlife habitats.

Due to the rise of plastics (where cork would have once been used—like wine corks, many of which are now plastic), the demand for cork isn’t high enough to keep all the cork trees profitable for the people who manage them.

Cork harvesting
Cork harvesting in Aracena, Huelva, Spain. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Cork is harvested in such a way that it doesn’t kill the tree that makes it, so it’s totally sustainable.

Cork, since it’s a natural material, is biodegradable at the end of its life, durable while being used, and it’s also naturally waterproof (perfect for bags!). And just in case you hang out at fire circles or backyard fire pits often, cork is also fire-resistant. See the video below for all the amazing social, cultural and environmental ways cork benefits communities where its grown.


Organic Spa Magazine dug up some other cork beauties in this month’s issue.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.