Our story started in early 2019, when our intention was to design and develop a product range that was more environmentally friendly for our planet, one that would challenge the leather and luxury goods industries as we know them. As a team we have over 30 years combined experience within the luxury leather industry. Throughout this time working closely with suppliers, we uncovered the reality of the leather industry and the damage that this has to people, rivers and ecosystems during the toxic process of making leather. It is for ethical reasons that we wanted to move away from this and start working with sustainable, vegan and eco friendly materials.
During the research stages we found the amazing material that is Cork leather, it is one of the best alternatives to animal leather there is. This also led us to be inspired to name the brand after the World’s largest and most productive cork oak tree on record -‘‘The Whistler Tree’’. The 230 year old tree is named for the countless songbirds that occupy its dense canopy.
Our mission and values
At Whistler Tree, we are driven by our wish to create items that are not only beautiful but also have a positive impact on the environment. We believe that fashion and accessories can be socially responsible and use renewable resources without compromising style, durability or most importantly, the Earth. Our collections are 100% cruelty-free, eco-friendly and ethically made using sustainably sourced materials that are the highest grade.
What does sustainability mean to us?
Our main source of material is Cork and it is one of the most sustainable materials in the world. We only buy our Cork material from the most reputable suppliers; it is produced in factories which have eco and sustainability credentials.
We adopt a slow fashion approach, so we are careful to design items which will not be out of fashion next year. In the design process we consider the construction, ensuring items will last a long time, and where possible we build in versatility and function, so our customers get value for money.
What is cork leather?
All of our Cork products are made out of premium cork material that comes from the bark of the cork oak tree.
Harvesting the bark from a cork oak tree every 9-10 years helps the tree to grow and live longer. Stripping the bark does not harm the tree, as the cork tree continues to mature and go through harvest; the tree is able to absorb more carbon dioxide to support its bark regeneration. As a result, the harvested trees will filter more carbon dioxide than those left untouched, resulting in cleaner air for everyone.
The harvested cork bark is then turned into cork fabric by skilled artisans. The result is an incredibly soft and durable material which is waterproof, anti-bacterial, fire-resistant, and best of all, vegan. Every piece displays a unique pattern native to the tree that it was harvested from, so each product is unique.
Other materials we use include organic cotton for our liners, and all-natural vegetable dyes.
No living things are harmed in the process of creating our products and no harmful chemicals are used.
Our commitment to ending animal cruelty
Luxury accessories have historically meant shopping for real leather, but the quality of non-leather textiles has improved beyond recognition. We believe everyone should have access to environmentally friendly, high quality accessories regardless of their lifestyle choice.
The materials we use at Whistler Tree are vegan. We are committed to ensuring that all our materials are ethically sourced and with no involvement in animal cruelty.
Minimising the impact of fashion
By using cork, we are able to minimise many of the negative impacts of the fashion industry by:
Using a sustainable natural material.
Avoiding the use of synthetic materials.
Using non-toxic water-based inks.
Making items in small batches.
Designing for longevity and durability
Shipping in bulk to reduce carbon emissions.