LEBIU Genuine Cork Skin – Final results
After almost 11 months of Research and Development in the co-creation program, I could develop a new set of Bio-based materials made out of Cork Stopper’s leftovers. The most difficult challenge was to pass from a home-made sample to a final prototype Industrially scalable and ready to enter the market.
So Lèbiu SRL came to life…
It became an Italian Design company based on the island of Sardinia and Spain. We provide eco-fabrics and vegan skin for design and fashion sectors, introducing the new applications of cork waste in a more ecological way thanks to the bio-based binders used and the high percentage of cork residue.
During the co-creation with textiles and cork technicians, I started a documental investigation on bio-based fabrics and patent research in order to guarantee the state of innovation among textile industries. Tests conducted with various techniques such as nanonebulization, lamination, coupling, spraying, fouling and flock have shown advantages and also restrictions of the state of the material at the beginning of the project.
From there, through laboratory practices, the performance of the material has been improved. It was a great opportunity to grow and learn about the various production technique in the textile sector. In my case I had the chance to focus on the production process, learning by doing and giving to technicians also a different way to look at new material, what we could do with different resources, and blended production techniques.
After several tests (and a lot of patience) I came across with 3 production lines made by cork waste:
CORSKIN: A Bio-skin made OF cork particles that keeps the aesthetic appearance of real leather plus the back part has a spongy effect like real animal leather. No other synthetic leather on the market has such characteristic, since the fabric is usually seen in the back.
With its percentage of cork powder plus bio-based additives, we provide a sustainable, animal-friendly coating for plenty of applications.
NEOBUCK: a new vegetal nubuck, it imitates the nubuck texture, but totally made out from bioresources. Thanks to the consistency of the cork particles and the effect that a customized technology gives to the surface of the fabric, this new type of biomaterial can be used alone, or as a back part of the “Corskin”.
NANOCORK: Itis a natural finish that can be applied directly on garments, using the minimum amount of water and chemical products, proposing a new type of much more sustainable and ad HOC finishing process, where is produced only what is needed, without overproduction. The mist of cork particle penetrates in the fibers improving its resistance and giving a Bio-Denim effect. It is a great alternative also to give a new life to clothes and also recovering some garments that have been damaged during production process in textile factories.
The material, in all its variants (Synthetic leather, Nubuck) is lighter, more resistant to rubbing, and cuts. The deposition of particles in several layers and in different percentages, improves its mechanical performance, making it a suitable fabric for footwear and clothing. The pigment adheres better to the particles and allows a greater variety of colorations. The production process is faster because there is no need to extract moisture from the particles and stabilize them before using them.
The new cork materials are aiming to decrease the carbon footprint of fashion/design industries due to the fact that it keeps its strong leather aesthetic characteristics and at the same time prevent global warming and will decrease significantly the production of real leather, which is good for our health but also for the environment because of intensive farming is responsible for 20% of the total CO2 in the world.
After this experience, I acquired a new point of view regarding fashion, production, and sustainability, being able to design a process taking into account the Environment, the Rural/Circular economy, and the Cultural Heritage.
Feel the tree skin. Feel Lebiu.