Pink Alcantara in the Lancia Y

Alcantara is the brand name of a synthetic textile with a soft, suede-like microfibre pile, noted for its durability. Alcantara was developed in the 1970s by Miyoshi Okamoto and initially manufactured by the Italian company Alcantara. The term has an Arabic root (Arabic: القنطرة‎, al-qantara) and means "the bridge".

Alcantara is produced by combining an advanced spinning process (producing very low denier bicomponent "islands-in-the-sea" fiber) and chemical and textile production processes (needle punching, buffing, impregnation, extraction, finishing, dyeing, etc.) which interact with each other.

Alcantara is commonly seen in automotive applications,[1] as a substitute for leather and vinyl in vehicle interior trim. It is also used in the design, fashion, consumer electronics and marine industries.[2]


The material was developed in the early 1970s by Miyoshi Okamoto, a scientist working for the Japanese chemical company Toray Industries. It was based on the same technology as another product from the same company named Ultrasuede.[3] Around 1972, a joint venture between Italian chemical company ENI and Toray formed Alcantara SpA in order to manufacture and distribute the material.[4][5] The company is now owned by Toray and Mitsui.


Alcantara is composed of about 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane,[6] giving increased durability and stain resistance. The appearance and tactile feel of the material is similar to that of suede, and it may be erroneously identified as such.

Some versions are designated as flame retardant in order to meet certain fire standards for both furnishings and automobile applications.[4]


Alcantara applications include furniture,[7] clothing, jewelry, safety helmets and automobiles. In the latter it is used in seating, dashboard trim and headliners by many high-end OEM automotive suppliers. It is commonly used as steering wheel covering in many performance oriented vehicles. Louis Vuitton uses Alcantara linings in many of its bags. It appears in the collaboration with Takashi Murakami under the creative direction of fashion designer Marc Jacobs, wherein the white Multicolor Monogram bags have a bright fuchsia Alcantara lining.

Alcantara is used as a flame-retardant driver seat covering material for Formula One race cars, including the Williams Formula One 2011 FW33 car.[8] Alcantara has a velvety texture and is soft to the touch, making it ideal for use in affluent phone cases, wallets, and other small accessories. It is also used as a covering material for high-end headphones, including the Sennheiser HD800, the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear,[9] and Bose QuietComfort 35[10] as well as for other consumer products, such as Microsoft's Alcantara keyboard cover for Surface Pro (2017)[11] and Surface Go,[12] Microsoft's Surface Laptop keyboard[13] and Samsung's Galaxy S8, S8+, S9, S9+ and Note 8[14] smartphone covers.[15] Alcantara is also used in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.[16][17] Overall, these factors and Alcantara's unique texture and luxurious feel make it a sought-after material in the fashion industry.[18]


  1. ^ "Automotive applications", Alcantara S.p.A.
  2. ^ "Applications and collaborations", Alcantara S.p.A.
  3. ^ Robert Kanigel Faux real: genuine leather and 200 years of inspired fakes, National Academies Press, 2007 ISBN 0-309-10236-7 p. 192
  4. ^ a b JAB Anstoetz takes over Alcantara distribution Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine,, 12 June 2010
  5. ^ Giancarlo Colombo (Ed.) Who's Who in Italy 2007 Edition, Volume 2, 2008, ISBN 88-85246-62-1
  6. ^ Walter Fung Coated and laminated textiles, Woodhead Publishing, 2002 ISBN 1-85573-576-8, p. 239
  7. ^ Mel Byars New chairs: design, technology, and materials, Laurence King Publishing, 2006 ISBN 1-85669-413-5 p.98
  8. ^ F1 Technical Williams Formula One FW33 Technical specifications
  9. ^ Sennheiser HD800 Product Page
  10. ^ Bose QuietComfort 35 Product Page
  11. ^ Microsoft Surface Pro Signature Cover Product Page
  12. ^ "Surface Go Signature Type Cover - Microsoft". Microsoft Store. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  13. ^ "Surface Laptop detail page on the usage of the Alcantara fabric". Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  14. ^ Samsung Note 8 Smartphone Alcantara Cover Product Page
  15. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8 Smartphone Alcantara Cover Product Page
  16. ^ "SpaceX on Instagram: "Crew Dragon can have up to seven seats, which are made from the highest-grade carbon fiber and Alcantara cloth."". Instagram. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  17. ^ "SpaceX Website: "Crew Dragon"". Archived from the original on 2019-03-02. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  18. ^ "What Is Alcantara Material And How It's Used In Fashion". GENTCREATE. 2022-03-23.