QURC is an Amsterdam-based fashion label that makes high-quality vegan shoes.
“We couldn’t understand that there was such a strange taboo around vegan fashion”.
“It was striking to see that no sneakers were made that could match the big brands in terms of style and quality”.
That gap between environmentally aware brands and the established order was the starting point for QURC, as stated in their site.
They felt compelled to come up with a sustainable and high-quality alternative to challenge the status quo.
The result? Eco-friendly and handmade vegan shoes, fairly produced in Portugal.
CORK-leather: natural & recycled materials
The brand’s differential is cork, one of the finest vegan and environmentally friendly fabrics available (and that has a unique look to it).
Does it last?
Most of us think of cork as the curls we see in cork boards, that tend to fall apart over time.
But CORK-leather has nothing to do with that! It is high quality, durable, and works as the perfect alternative to animal leather.
Actually, CORK-leather behaves in a very similar way to conventional leather: it improves over time, it “develops character” and becomes more flexible with use, without losing any of its physical properties.
But, unlike leather, CORK-leather is 100% natural and vegan, water-proof, stain resistant and scratch-proof!
Plus, it’s very low-maintenance. To keep your QURC-leather vegan shoes in good shape, all you need to do is clean it with nothing but a dishcloth, water, and a couple of drops of soap.
- Wear and tear resistant
- Extremely light
Vegan shoes: A cruelty-free alternative to animal leather
Did you know that cow’s leather is the most environmentally damaging textile in the world?
These are the results of a 2017 research done by The Global Fashion Agenda, a Copenhagen-based not for profit, the world’s foremost leadership forum for global collaboration in sustainable fashion.
Why is leather so bad?
- It produces more emissions worldwide than the entire transport industry
- Takes up roughly 80% of agricultural land but only produces 18% of the world’s calories
- Is a leading cause of deforestation and biodiversity loss
- Pollutes waterways with animal waste runoff
Plus, it causes animal cruelty and takes advantage of workers who are often underpaid.
Cork, with its intricate natural patterns, soft texture, and water-resistant structure, is an amazing alternative that’s becoming more widely appreciated as people around the world become aware of it.
A sustainable production process
QURC makes their vegan shoes in a process that is ethically responsible, from the harvesting of the cork until the production in Portugal.
01: The harvesting of cork
Cork oaks are harvested every nine years, once they reach maturity.
Workers use machetes and bars to properly extract the bark.
It doesn’t harm the tree, and the cork bark regrows.
In fact, harvested cork trees absorb 3-5 times more CO2 than non-harvested trees! Cork oak trees in Portugal alone help offset 10 million tons of carbon every year.
So cork harvesting is an environmentally friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down.
The cork bark is then introduced in containers with boiling water; this alters the cell structure of cork, expanding it to create a more manageable material.
Only water is used during the boiling process; no chemicals are added as in the case of animal leather.
Then, workers shave the boiled cork until they get very thin sheets.
After that, a cotton-based backing is added to the sheets in order to increase durability (several layers of cork sheets are used during this step).
02: The designing process
QURC’s sneakers are designed in Amsterdam, while the production is done by hand by experienced craftsmen in Portugal.
They make sure the sneakers fit well on all types of feet, and use only the finest raw materials to ensure high comfort.
They also prioritize sustainability, aiming to rebuild the ecosystem rather than exploiting it.
03: The production
QURC has partnered with a small family owned factory in Portugal.
There, they maintain an extremely high standard of ethics and pay their employees fairly.
They also give maximum priority to quality work over quantity.
The process is handmade, seeking to produce stand out vegan shoes that have remarkable finishing touches done with loads of care.
We do not compromise on style. We do not compromise on comfort. And we do not compromise on image, although we use non-animal materials. We set the new standard.
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Sources: QURC website, Lost Woods