Alcantara® is a covering material also known as imitation suede due to similarity of their appearance and tactile sensation. The material was invented in early 1970s and patented by an Italian and Japanese joint venture Alcantara S.p.A., which manufacturers it to the present day.
Alcantara has applications in many spheres including clothing, jewellery, furniture upholstery, helmets and interiors of cars, yachts, airplanes and even spaceships. It has gained recognition among the most famous designers of our time. Thus, Louis Vuitton produces bags with Alcantara lining, and many driver seats in Formula One race cars are upholstered with this material. So, what are the key characteristics, which helped Alcantara win the hearts and minds of people?
Firstly, it’s soft, velvety and has a very pleasant touch. Its textures are so versatile that one can hardly name all the possible variations: cnc perforation, electrowelded, embroidered, laminated, needled, embossed, laser perforated, laser engraving, perforated, perforated with backing, pleated, pleated and printed, printed, resin printed, thermo welding, woven and many others.
Secondly, it’s durable and very wear-resistant: it doesn’t get oily or shiny and won’t fray after a year of implementation.
Thirdly, Alcantara is fireproof. And flame-retardant versions are ideal for furnishing and automobile applications.
Fourthly, Alcantara is more elastic than genuine leather, which allows for using this material for upholstering miniature pieces and furniture of intricate shapes.
Fifthly, Alcantara is pretty practical: it can be washed in a washing machine or cleaned with common leather cleaners.
Sixthly, Alcantara has no cutting wastes, which has a positive impact on the price of finished products.
Seventhly, Alcantara has a rich color range. For instance, a collection of patterns designed by Gulio Cappellini features imitations of dried grass, cracked soil and even fish scales.
All of these features make Alcantara ideal from all points of view: practical, aesthetical, tactile, safety, maintenance, pricing and color and texture options.