What is Alcantara?
If you’ve seen or touched Alcantara, you may have concluded that it is very similar to suede. This has led many to believe that it is a type of suede. Technically that is incorrect. What is Alcantara? It’s actually a synthetic material similar to suede. We’ll discuss it more and we’ll also explore suede and something called Ultrasuede.
Is suede used in vehicles?
You can find leather in a lot of vehicles, but suede isn’t usually utilized and there’s a simple reason why. Suede is actually a type of leather typically made from the underside of animal skin. With its napped finish, suede is known for its softness, but it’s also known for its amazing ability to absorb liquid.
This property makes suede very easy to stain and even permanently damage. Because of this, suede is terrible for usage in automobiles where the elements are frequently introduced and the materials are hard to remove for proper cleaning.
Alcantara on the other hand, doesn’t contain any leather at all. Though similar in texture, Alcantara is nothing like suede in the way it is manufactured either. In fact, it is more akin to Ultrasuede, and its history is rather interesting.
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Where is Alcantara made?
Before we talk about Alcantara, let’s talk about Ultrasuede for a moment. Trust us, it will be important. Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto invented Ultrasuede in Japan by as a more resilient alternative to suede. This material impressed the Italians so much that they flew him out to develop something similar to Ultrasuede.
It was 1972, and the company that formed to produce this Italian suede alternative was Alcantara SPA. This material actually takes its name from the company that creates it. This is why Alcantara is always capitalized unlike leather or suede. It also means that all Alcantara is Italian in origin. Now luxury and performance cars the world over, including Lamborghini models like the Urus, employ it in their interiors.
What is Alcantara made of?
Alcantara is actually a microfiber material that is composed of about 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane. These materials are what make it particularly resistant to staining. The proprietary spinning process that creates this dynamic material involves needle punching, buffing, impregnation, extraction, and more just to give it that luxurious feel. It may be synthetic, but it is nothing if not premium. You simply need to feel Alcantara for yourself to recognize its appeal.