Alcantara (microfiber fabric)
Alcantara is the trade name for a high-quality suede artificial leather with a velvety surface based on a micro - non-woven fabric made of polyester and polyurethane . In Japan Alcantara is also called "Ecsaine", in the USA it is known as "Ultrasuede". It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as “ leather ” or “ suede ”.
The fabric was developed in 1970 by Miyoshi Okamoto of the Japanese Toray Industries and brought to market maturity together with Gruppo ENI . The aim was to develop a textile whose properties could replace the always scarce leather. The fabric has been licensed since 1974 in an Italian plant owned by Alcantara S. p. A. produced in the Umbrian town of Terni .
By extrusion , an extremely thin thread can be produced from the two mixed basic components, from which particularly soft and supple materials can be produced, the surface texture of which is reminiscent of suede . The manufacturing process of Alcantara is complex and time-consuming, the material is just as expensive as it is high-quality and cannot offer a price advantage over leather. Due to the industrial production, a uniform quality of the material is achieved. The advantage of this is that there is less waste in the manufacturing process. Alcantara is sold by the meter in various widths.
Alcantara is used in various areas of textile processing, for example for clothing and as utility textiles in the furniture industry and for automobile interiors. The textile feels very soft, is antistatic, hard-wearing, easy to clean, breathable, elastic, allergy-neutral and can be stretched easily and without wrinkles. It also offers almost unlimited color options.
Alcantara has also been available in the auto industry for interior fittings since the 1980s. Today, most automobile manufacturers use Alcantara for seat covers, panels, pillars, headliners, dashboards, parcel shelves, etc. for higher equipment lines, special models or more expensive models, at least in places. Alcantara has been used for the longest and most frequently by the Italian manufacturer Lancia , which has been used since the 1980s until at least 2010 every model was also offered with Alcantara equipment.
Compared to leather, Alcantara is more breathable, slip-resistant and maintenance-free except for cleaning that may be necessary. The material is also used in sports cars for the purpose of weight reduction.
- Italian manufacturer and brand owner Alcantara SpA
- Alcantara materials and upholstery fabrics on the website of SCHÖNER WOHNEN magazine