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This gorgeous folding clutch is made from cork

It's just one of several beautiful and practical designs from Sumsaara.

Sumsaara is a family-owned company in California that makes beautiful clutches, wallets, belts, and key chains out of cork. I knew I liked its business philosophy even before I'd delved into the products because founder Jannat Saxena stated that a purse “shouldn't simply be beautiful or functional or environmentally responsible — it should be all three.” I couldn't agree more.

A purse, wallet, belt, and keychain are practical necessities in modern life and there's no reason why we shouldn't be making them with the greenest, longest-lasting materials possible. Cork meets that requirement. Sumsaara sources it from Portugal, where cork oaks have their bark stripped every 8-10 years, a process that actually increases the tree's ability to absorb carbon dioxide. According to the website, cork oak forests retain up to 14 million tonnes of CO2 annually. The resulting cork fabric pretty much ticks every box:

“It is stain-resistant, water-resistant, scratch-proof, hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, lightweight, incredibly soft, and is also resistant to abrasion, fire, and water.”

Another curious aspect of Sumsaara's designs is to make the clutches so art-like that you'll want to display them, rather than stuff them in a closet between uses. In fact, the company sparked into being when Saxena, recently graduated from the design program at San Jose State University, designed a clutch for her purse-loving mother as a gift that could be displayed and enjoyed “as a work of art all day.”

card wallet varieties© Sumsaara – Card wallet varieties

The clutch has a wood veneer base and a cork interior that unfolds like origami to hold a large phone, compact wallet, keys, pen, and more. The belts are double-sided with grommets to reinforce holes and come in four sizes. The small wallets have two pockets and one divider in the front, with room for 5-6 cards and several bills. See all products here.

It's just one of several beautiful and practical designs from Sumsaara.