If you'd like to get the junk out of your back pocket or purse, consider downsizing into a wallet such as this one, which holds just the essentials.
We love cork. It's a great renewable material for everything from insulation to furniture to shoes to flooring, and cork oak forests, located mainly in Portugal and Spain, are not only sustainable sources of income for the communities which surround them, but also serve as important biodiversity hotspots in their regions.
While cork does have its limitations (both in terms of the qualities of the material itself and the global supply of it), it remains a viable and sustainable material for a wide range of applications. I believe that, just as with hemp, we're only beginning to see the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to innovating with both virgin cork and recycled cork, and that as talented designers start to focus more of their attention on cork as a raw material, we'll be seeing a grand cork renaissance in the years to come.
One of the advantages of cork is that it can be sliced very thinly, giving it a soft and supple fabric-like feel, while still retaining a leather-like toughness and natural water resistance, which makes it a perfect alternative material to leather for making wallets and other personal goods.
I previously covered the launch of designer Arash Malek's Subrr line of minimalist wallets last year, and although the crowdfunding goal wasn't reached for that particular campaign, the wallets are being produced and are available for sale through the company's website. Subrr has just released a new design for another minimalist cork wallet, but this time without using any stitching whatsoever, and instead relying on four brass rivets to hold it all together.
The Mobi wallet is made from a single piece of laser-cut cork, and then folded and riveted into a slim two-pocket design that can carry up to 8 cards with ease, due to the flexible nature of the material. The Mobi is available in 6 color variations, and because cork is a natural product, each one is truly unique in appearance because of the patterns in the material itself.
The product actually came about through a method that can be useful to other designers and inventors: Make one for yourself, start showing it off, and see who wants one for themselves.
"I love brass and working with metal, so I combined the two. I made this wallet for myself but when my girlfriend saw it, she loved it so much that she took it from me!" - Arash Malek
This time, instead of attempting to raise $10,000 in crowdfunding, as their last campaign did, the team at Subrr is shooting for a goal of raising just $2000 for the project through a Kickstarter campaign (which is already over halfway funded, with a month to go), and is offering backers the chance to get a Mobi wallet in time for Valentine's Day (February 2015) for a pledge of just $20.
These minimalist cork wallets (which are are cleanable with warm water and soap), are made in the US, and might make a great gift for vegetarians and vegans that try to avoid using leather, or for others because it's a great example of an alternative renewable material, or perhaps maybe just because it's a great design for a slim wallet that reflects a 'less is more' lifestyle.
If you're looking for other interesting cork accessories and products, Subrr also makes an iPhone protector made from cork ($10), and MEMA Pets offers a sweet-looking cork and hemp dog collar with machined aluminum buckle.