This article was written primarily for Good Portugal by Business Development Manager Myroslava Shupyk.

One of Portugal’s most incredible treasures that are not written about on the front pages of tourist booklets is the cork oak.

Why is it a treasure? Because the cork oak is unique because its bark is capable of regeneration. That is why Portugal was able to create a truly environmentally friendly business on its basis, occupying 70% of the market for the oak bark trade in the world.

Despite the unusual sound, items made of such oak are not something exotic. We are more than sure that the cork in the wine you have in your kitchen is made from cork oak bark, as Portugal supplies it to more than 130 countries around the world. But cork is not alone: although it accounts for more than 70% of the industry. The bark also makes building materials, sporting goods, materials for decoration, toys, etc. Moreover, the Portuguese have mastered the art of making accessories and jewelry out of oak bark, which every year is gaining more and more popularity in the fashion industry.

The Cork Collection is a prime example of a fashion brand built on the sustainable use of bark and waste-free production. The company is certified by PETA, which provides vegan and cruelty-free businesses: it collects the bark so that the wood will not be damaged and can regenerate for years. Typically, the bark from a tree is harvested 15 times during its life cycle.

Not only does this not harm the trees, but on the contrary, it benefits them. The bark of a cortical tree is comparable to a sheep’s fur, which must be periodically trimmed for the health and comfort of the animal. Likewise, the bark of this oak tree, after a certain period begins to sprout a thick layer and crack, as a sign that it is time to cut it off. The bark of the cork tree is used to make exquisite bags, fabrics, bracelets, glasses, fans, watches, etc. While tourists are attracted to cork accessories by their color and local origin, international buyers are attracted by their quality and environmental friendliness. Thus, Portuguese production rapidly became an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to cheap and low-quality products, which overflowed the fashion market.

As a result of their love for their business and family work, passed down from generation to generation, the Portuguese have created a real revolution in the world of ecological materials and, consequently, in the world of fashion. After all, in addition to being eco-friendly, this material is waterproof, long-lasting, soft, and flexible. You can see what products are made of this material by following this link:

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