Vegan fashion brands are on the rise.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the horror behind the use of animal skins, and indeed the ecological impact caused by the animal agriculture industry. As such, people naturally want to make more ethical choices.
Not to mention that celebrities like Alicia Silverstone, Miley Cyrus, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, and Eva Longoria are regularly seen with vegan handbags.
A pioneer in this revolution is GUNAS, a PETA-approved ethical fashion brand offering signature vegan handbags, shoes, and men’s bags.
In this post, I'll run through everything you'll want to know about the GUNAS mission, including information on the founder, our favorite products, pricing, shipping, and more!
About the Company
Founded in 2009 by Sugandh G. Agrawal, GUNAS was the first luxury vegan handbag brand in the US (though they also sell some shoes and men's bags).
Sugandh started the brand with seven years of corporate industrial designer experience under her belt, which she left behind to pursue her vision of creating a fashion brand that doesn't exploit animals or people.
Sugandh considers herself a fashion activist who is pursuing her American dream in the most ethical way she knows how.
In 2015 she was awarded Best Green Handbag Designer at the Independent Handbag Designer Awards by InStyle magazine.
Then, in 2018, she won the Macy's Best Retail Handbag by an Independent Designer Award.
Over the past few years, GUNAS handbags have been featured in several fashion magazines like Vogue and Bazaar, and on the Let's Make a Deal TV show.
Sugandh was vegetarian for a long time before she transitioned to veganism. Having done so, she found conflicting ideals between her food choices and the fashion industry she worked in.
Leather, silk and fur are still used in many clothing lines and fur has seen a resurgence in recent years due to its “classic” appeal.
GUNAS believes that everyone can look and feel good about themselves without harming animals, and that high fashion can still be achieved without animal skins.
Thus the core values of the company revolve around compassion and empathy and the prevention of exploitation.
GUNAS started with an 8-piece collection made in New York. However, production costs in NY were high and so Sugandh tried outsourcing production to China.
Unfortunately, a lack of transparency around labour practices didn’t sit well with her, so she decided to set up a studio in her homeland, India, where she trained and collaborated closely with artisans to make GUNAS products.
The brand has since flourished and sourced labour from countries like Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Mexico, and Brazil.
Currently, the majority of GUNAS products, particularly its handbags, are produced in Seoul, South Korea. Sugandh ensures that working conditions adhere to the high ethical standards of the company.
The materials used in GUNAS products are 100% vegan. You won't find any leather, silk or fur. The bags and shoes are made from special faux nylons, eco-polyurethane, synthetic microfibers and ultra-suede.
In 2018, GUNAS introduced and trademarked Mulbtex, which is a cotton base made from the pulp of mulberry leaves. It is free from PVC and plastic and ages like authentic leather.
GUNAS' lining fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles or up-cycled cotton twills. No PVC or Vinyl is used because of its harmful effect on the environment.
Let's have a look at some of the products.
The GUNAS Women’s Range
GUNAS offers a collection of handbags covering clutches, totes, backpacks, and shoulder and cross-body bags. The collection also includes a range of shoes.
The bags are made using the following materials:
- 100% Vegan Textured Eco Polyurethane
- Recycled Plastic Bottles Lining
- Recycled metal hardware with 18K Gold plating
Here's an overview of some of our favorite bags and shoes:
Poised, polished, and powerful is the statement that oozes from the Jane Satchel.
Part of the GUNAS Premium Collection, the bag includes a removable and adjustable cross-body strap.
Jane comes with the added bonus of a removable make-up bag, which serves as a mini clutch for when you are on the go.
The Cougar backpack is perfect for when you need to carry that little bit extra that won't fit in a regular handbag.
Cougar is perfectly sized to hold your camera, phone, tablet, wallet, a water-bottle and many other essentials, and will work for day trips or a day out in the city.
The Cougar also comes in black and white, and is also available in a quilted design that comes in five colors: black, white, navy, tan, and peach.
Chloe is a highly functional five-way belt bag, and a best seller that is regularly out of stock.
You can use or remove its detachable metal chain strap, and the slip pockets inside can be used to organize your small essentials.
Even though it’s light-weight and small, you’ll be surprised to find out how many items this chic bag can hold.
- Internal slip pockets
- Wipe clean lining surface
- 22 Karat Gold Plated brass hardware
- Short metal shoulder/wristlet strap
- Turn lock closure
- Feather light weight
- Dust bag included
The New England Cottontail rabbit, often featured in children’s bedtime stories such as Peter Rabbit, is the inspiration behind the Cottontail.
If you have watched Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events', you will have seen this bag carried by Madam Lulu.
Cottontail is a signature piece – featuring a pretty bow – that comes in a number of colors that will match your outfit and mood.
As with all GUNAS bags it's stylish but functional, featuring the following attributes:
- Internal Zipper pocket
- Zipper divider pocket
- Detachable adjustable shoulder strap
- Dust bag included
Ethically produced and 100% sweatshop-free, the Aubrey loafers offer that classic flats look with a huge dose of comfort.
These are perfect, practical work shoes with a high end look.
They come in two colors, off-white and black, with a subtle reptile skin design – vegan of course – and the GUNAS motif elegantly placed on the upper.
When choosing a size, add half a size if you have wide feet. Other than that, the sizes are as they should be.
Pairing perfectly with a Cottontail handbag, these Swan flats are elegant but practical for everyday use.
We've featured the silver pair, which could easily work for a dinner date or party.
The bows bring a femininity and sweetness to the shoes, with the overall design inspired by the beauty and elegance of the swan.
These adorable shoes come in black, powder pink, and a fancy silver for a special occasion.
The GUNAS’ men’s collection is inspired by men’s vintage fashion, which never goes out of style.
The products utlize a Mulbtex vegan leather made from Mulberry pulp, along with recycled materials like metal hardware and plastic bottle lining.
Aside from the signature Woody wallet, the collection features men’s bags in three varieties: Jared, Tom, and Moby.
The Jared square backpack is well suited to the modern office worker and is interestingly named after Oscar-winning vegan actor Jared Leto.
It has a top two-way zip closure and a front zip compartment that fits a large phone, wallet, and keys. The interior padded slip pocket fits a 15″ laptop.
Jared features an embossed logo and shiny nickel hardware, and is detailed with padded adjustable shoulder straps,
Jared isn't overly formal, so you can use it for pretty much any occasion when you're wearing casual clothes.
Tom is a handsfree sling bag that is just big enough to it an iPad or small notebook.
It's a functional bag for small essentials, perfect for whizzing around town and running errands.
Tom comes in black, with two design variations on the lower body of the bag, either a grey or navy accent that blends well with the black material.
Named after the vegan musician of the same name, Moby is a classic businessman's bag.
Available in black and brown, the bag is made from 100% compressed layers of handmade paper, coated with Mulberry tree leaves pulp on cotton canvas and glazed to mimic the properties of real leather
Moby is the businessman's go-to bag.
The GUNAS’ Clean Beauty Collection features skincare products made from plant-based ingredients – all cruelty-free.
Additionally, the products contain no parabens or synthetic fragrance, and the luxury soap bars are hand-cut by GUNAS’ artisans based in Greece.
Black Diamond uses activated bamboo charcoal to detoxify the skin.
Unlike traditional soap it doesn't dry your skin out because it is rich in organic oils and butters, which gives the soap its unique scent.
The Black Diamond soap produces a rich foam and is well suited as a part of your daily skincare routine.
A great unisex gift.
Unlike Black Diamond, Bergamot has a more feminine feel to it.
It has a floral fragrance that comes from the Bergamot essential oil, coupled with a tinge of fresh citrus.
It cleanses well and is also deeply moisturizing because of its 90% olive oil content.
The perfect treat for a lady.
Earth Paradise harnesses the cleansing properties and nourishing effects of spirulina and ultramarine blue clay.
This soap helps remove toxins and promotes skin healing.
The addition of bitter orange and bergamot essential oils give it its fragrance and anti-bacterial properties.
Made to Order
GUNAS also offers personalized made to order tees. The shirts are custom-printed, so you won’t be eligible for return or exchange.
You need to pick your size accurately for the slim-fit tees; the charts on the website will help you to find your exact size.
The chic tees come in multiple colors and designs, so there is plenty to choose from. There are tees for adults and kids, and even onesies for infants.
GUNAS also sells scarves made from poly chiffon and poly voile, as well as a black laptop sleeve in 3 sizes.
GUNAS products are luxury items at a mid-range price. Bags range from 200-300 USD, and shoes from 80-130 USD.
For the quality and exclusivity of the brand, and the fact that all production is ethical, this is wholly reasonable.
If you're head over heels in love with a GUNAS product but can't afford to lay out the money in one go, you'll be pleased to know that GUNAS also offers a four payment interest-free plan.
You can take advantage of this by choosing the Klarna option on the checkout page. Simply enter your debit or credit card information and you’re good to go.
Only the first installment will be charged once the order is processed. The three subsequent installments will be charged automatically to your card every two weeks.
It costs $12.95 to ship domestic orders. This is a flat shipping and handling fee.
International shipping is $39.95, with custom duty charges to be shouldered by international customers.
Once orders are placed, it takes 2-3 business days before the items are shipped. However, bear in mind that it can take 6-8 weeks if the item is out of stock.
Exchanges & Refunds Policy
To return an item, simply go to the returns request page and enter your email address.
The conditions are as follows:
- Buyer is responsible for return/exchange shipment fees.
- All returns MUST be received within 14 days and exchanges MUST be received within 30 days from when you place the order. (Exceptions for pre-order)
- Clearance, sale, markdown, and flash sale items are not eligible for return or exchange.
Items to be returned or exchanged must be in factory-packed condition, with the tags and barcodes attached. If the items are used, they will be sent back to the customer, who will shoulder the shipping fees.
Refunds are issued within 5-7 business days, but it can take 3-4 business days to show in your account.
For international orders, you’ll need to send an email in with the order number assigned to your item.
This will be checked to see if you’re eligible for a return or exchange request.
Once approved, you can send back the item in the original packaging using a courier.
You should keep the tracking information until the company receives the parcel.
GUNAS is a wonderful brand that not only makes unique, stylish fashion but also stands up against any form of violence and suffering.
With its ethical practices and artisan-crafted products, it’s no wonder this vegan fashion label is winning awards and garnering attention from celebrities.
Hopefully we'll see even more products added to the range in the coming year. Go GUNAS!