The Detroit News recently published an article highlighting the benefits of trimming vehicles in Alcantara as opposed to leather. The piece doesn’t shed a lot of new light on the fabric — especially for auto trimmers already familiar with it. However, it does provide a bit of interesting background on where Alcantara comes from, and why car owners should consider requesting it.
Here’s an excerpt from the article explaining Alcantara‘s Japanese-Italian roots and some of its benefits:
Alcantara feels a lot like suede, but it is not made from leather. Nor is it a woven fabric, said Andrea Boragno, president and chief executive of Alcantara S.p.A., the Italian company that manufactures the product through proprietary technology. […]
Alcantara was created in the early 1970s by Miyoshi Okamoto, a Japanese scientist working for Toray, a chemical company. Toray and Italy’s ENI Group jointly launched the Alcantara brand, which has been promoted as an alternative to leather.
Boragno said the material, a “composite textile,” costs about the same as leather, but is more breathable, and lighter, just as functionally durable, easy to maintain and clean, can be produced in any color, can be embossed with various designs, and is produced by a carbon-neutral manufacturing process as the only place it is produced, in Terni, Italy.
Boragno is particularly pleased that Alcantara became Italy’s first carbon-neutral manufacturer. [more]
For a more detailed — and slightly more dramatic — history and description of Alcantara, see the manufacturer’s website, which also lists where you can buy it.
Alcantara is a very nice and strong suede-like material. It comes 57-58 to 60 inches wide. The right side similar to suede it forms shades while passing your palm over…so at the time of upholstering something take into consideration how it combs to get an even shade. As leather it has its stretchy side along the width…so at the time of upholstering a steering-wheel we have to take it into account. To cover steering-wheels, dashboards, stretchy projects, etc. the material comes natural with no backing on the wrong side. To upholster headliners or some other parts, a thin foam of milimeters was added similar to bonded fabrics. And for seats to add more strength a fabric as a backing was glued to the wrong side…it has some little stretching on the width of material.
One of the distributors for America (North and South) is GULF FABRICS, INC. http://www.gulffabrics.com/ It is located in Tampa, FLORIDA.
Its delivery service is fast and they politely give you the right information.
By the way, does anybody knows why the name Alcantara for the material?…Do not believe me, but I’ve heard that the agreement between the japanese Toray company and ENI the italian company was held in a place in Spain with this name.
Anthony Martinez says
I want to Alcantara my headliner to a 2005 MBZ SL 500 with a retractable hard top, is this possible with a convertible hardtop?
I want Charcoal Gray Alcantara, is this feasible and/or possible?
I want everything in Alcantara Charcoal Gray Suede!!…Meaning, the sun visors, the pillars and the back rear window panels, where the hinges are located for the retractable top!….
Please advise me if you have this material available, and more than likely will need no more than 3 yards, correct?….
How much does 3 yards cost for Alcantara Suede?….Anthony
Anthony Martinez says
Oh, I forgot one more thing, should the Alcantara headliner be doubled stitched?..It looks much more expensive and attractive, right?…Anthony
Allure Curtis says
I’m in dire need of Alcantara cashmere tan fabric for my 2016 Nissan Maxima. Please help