What are your associations with cork? Until recently, mine has only been a bottle of delicious Chianti… but for some time it has also been bags. 🙂
Today, I’d love to tell you my impressions of the use of a cork bag branded Oak Bags. To be honest, I’ve planned to do that 2 weeks ago but I must admit that autumn aura successfully slowed down the pace of my activity on various fronts.
When I heard of Oak Bags (Facebook) for the first time, around 2 years ago, it was hard for me to imagine how cork which crumbles (especially when you carelessly uncork a bottle of wine) can become an aesthetic, durable, and high-quality bag… The astonishment of many people who keep asking me about the fabric of my bag is makes me realise that I wasn’t alone in my doubts.
The story of Oak Bags intrigued me so much that I asked Ewa Engler – the owner of the brand – for a meeting. I was very curious what made her come up with an idea to create bags of the fabric such little-known in Poland. The result of our meeting you can find here. I will just say that the brand DNA (as they say in the jargon) stems directly from the beliefs and moral stance of the owner. Ewa has been a vegetarian for many years, that’s why she was looking for a well-made non-leather bag. As she couldn’t find the one that would suit her needs, she decided to have it made, and then… to manufacture it and offer as an alternative for people who, just like her, don’t want to accept wearing a leather bag. I also found out that to create her products she uses the services of a Warsaw craftsman, whom she generously rewards financially. One of her greatest concerns is to use no elements of animal origin, which was reflected in public recognitions, including a prestigious certificate of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Oak Bags is a vegan brand.
And now a few words about the bag itself.
I’ve been using it for 3 months. By saying that I mean that I really use it and not just from time to time. It carries my books, documents and laptop. I take her with me on my journeys by trains, planes, and my car; and…to the terror of some people (especially those who believe that it results in money leaving the purse of the owner) I lay it on the floor. It’s typical for me to use things that I like intensively. Just like that.
For me Oak Bags products are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a perfect alternative for leather bags and a discovery for a few reasons:
- The owner runs the company in line with her values.
- Cork fabric is sourced without any damage to animals and environment. Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree and it is harvested once in 9 years which makes it possible for the trees to grow further living from 150 to 200 years.
- The manufacturing of each bag takes place thanks to the work of a Warsaw leatherworker, Jacek, who is decently remunerated for his work.
- The bag is durable and solidly made.
Below, a few photos of Oak Bags in Lisbon Alfam streets, in the Portuguese climate where the cork feels at home. 🙂