Sugandh Agrawal was working as an industrial designer at KitchenAid when she realized her true passion: cruelty-free fashion. Agrawal launched the vegan handbag line GUNAS in 2009. With infectious designs and playful details, New York-based GUNAS brings unique designs to eco-conscious fashion.
GUNAS offers an array of handbag styles, as well as a small collection of ballet flats. The brand initially produced their products in New York, but expanded globally to source goods from Italy, India, South Korea, Mexico, and Brazil using small-scale artisanal manufacturers.
GUNAS is dubbed as “America’s first 100% vegan handbag,” and uses only chemical and animal-free materials. Products are made of coated canvas, nylons, eco-polyurethane, and upcycled polyester. GUNAS has also recently began incorporating new alternative materials like cork, rubber, and Pinatex for their products. Bags are lined with upcycled cotton and recycled plastic bottles. All handbags are PVC-free, and handbag hardware is without lead or nickel. Even the GUNAS custom logo hardware is made of 24-carat gold plated recycled materials.
“Animals are not meant to be a part of fashion,” the brand’s mission statement said. “We can look and feel good without harming other living beings. We need to connect ourselves with what goes on behind the scenes and question our actions and their impacts.”
GUNAS continues to promote conscious consumerism, and the fashion world can’t get enough. The brand has been featured in major publications like InStyle, Vogue, and Glamour. Celebrities have also taken notice, carrying GUNAS handbags for elevated street style. “I love my GUNAS bag,” actress Emily Deschanel said. “It is wonderful that I can wear something that expresses my style while also having the peace of mind that no animals were harmed making it.”
GUNAS has also been recognized within the fashion industry and applauded for their dedication to animal-free products. The brand was awarded the Ethical Fashion Award by the Ethical Fashion Forum UK in 2012, and PETA awarded the brand Best Handbag in 2014.
GUNAS has also recently partnered with iVANZi for pop-up shops in New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.
GUNAS, with their mission of “high fashion, zero cruelty,” is taking over the fashion industry not only due to its style, but also their strong stance against animal abuse.
For more information, visit https://www.gunasthebrand.com.