GUNAS: High Fashion, Cruelty Free, 100% Vegan Handbag Giveaway!

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For a lot of folks, adjusting to vegan lifestyle choices–including vegan apparel and accessories, and vegan personal care items–is almost as difficult as adjusting to the diet. This may sound silly, but all consumer habits are tough to change. Attachments are strong, and there’s a lot to think about. It’s often in contemplating lots of small lifestyle changes–rather than diet alone–that people start to feel overwhelmed, or get overly hung up on perfection.

Because I’d given up some animal products already when I became vegan–it had been over a decade since I’d eaten red meat–my dietary transition was fairly smooth (it helped that I loved the food so much!)! But it wasn’t easy to start eschewing leather and wool, and I’d say that the lifestyle transition ultimately took me a few years longer than the dietary transition. Like most vegans, I still have some pre-gan items that I haven’t parted with and probably won’t until they’re worn out. But I make an effort to purchase vegan apparel, footwear, personal care products, and household cleaners. And I’m always super excited when I’m introduced to a cool, idealistic vegan-friendly clothing or accessory line.

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(Thanks to Steven for helping me model!)

GUNAS is one of vegan brands I most admire. Based in New York, GUNAS is an independent, high fashion label with a cause. It was started in 2008 by designer and animal lover, Sugandh G. Agrawal, who came from a successful design and business background at KitchenAid. She quit her 7-year corporate career to start a brand that would embody her belief that animals are not fashion items or commodities, and that we humans can look fashionable without harming other living beings. As Sugandh notes in the GUNAS mission statement, “We need to connect our selves with what goes on behind the scenes.”

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Since it’s humble inception with 8 bag designs, the GUNAS label has evolved tremendously. It’s now a global label, sourcing and manufacturing bags using artisans and small-scale ethical manufacturers from countries such as India, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Hong Kong.

In 2011, Sugandh also started a small-scale studio in India to help local artisans enhance their craft while producing ethical, 100% vegan fashion. In 2012 the Ethical Fashion Forum in London awarded GUNAS for being the best cruelty-free handbag brand.

Today, sensitive to the fact that overproduction and overconsumption are major threats to the environment, GUNAS produces mindfully and limits the introduction of new or seasonal items. The brand uses eco-friendly materials, and it recently won the Best Green Bag distinction at the 2015 Independent Designer Handbag Awards. It’s also a brand that constantly gives back, supporting a number of animal rights’ organizations and charities.

I was thrilled when the folks at GUNAS reached out to me and offered me a chance to review one of their bags and share another with a lucky Choosing Raw reader. I know that you guys will love these fashionable, whimsical bags as much as I do, and that you’ll delight in knowing that the bags are manufactured with compassion in mind.

For me, GUNAS shared the lovely Madison bag in steel. I love how versatile this bag is! It’s a lightweight, everyday design that can be worn on the shoulder or across using the detachable body strap.

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So classy and versatile. The faux leather is buttery soft and has a subtle sheen–the quality is great, and the craftsmanship is obvious.

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And now the fun part! GUNAS is offering one lucky US reader their brand new Nicole tote bag in black. The bag is in pre-order right now, and won’t be shipping widely for 4-6 weeks, so you get a sneak peek–and a chance to snag one before this hot new design sells out.

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This is an ideal, everyday bag. It’s roomy, soft, and can store all of your odds and ends–it has a top zipper closure, a pocket for accessories, and 2 internal zipper pockets. It will absolutely hold most laptops and tablets. It’s subtle and simple enough to use as a work or a school bag, yet it still boasts a fashionable look and feel. I love the rich black color and beautifully pebbled faux leather.

I can’t wait to share the bag with one of my readers–I’ll be shipping directly to the lucky winner! If you’d like to add this durable, cruelty free bag to your wardrobe, simply enter below to win. The contest is open to US entries, and it will run for two weeks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, everyone! And be sure to learn more about GUNAS, to check out its wonderful array of shoulder bags, and to read more about the company’s story. And a huge thanks to the folks at GUNAS, not only for sharing their wonderful bags with me and a CR reader, but also for making respect and care for animals a cornerstone of their business. I’ll be back on Sunday for weekend reading, of course. Have a wonderful start to the weekend, everyone! xo

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    132 Comments
  1. Snacks of course, and all the various mom stuff because about 75% of my purse contents are not mine. 🙂

  2. I just took on a huge freelance project that involves working with a team of therapists, lawyers and financial planners, so this tote would be perfect for meetings with my clients.

  3. The perfect place to store all my notebooks (which I carry around everywhere) as well as any books I might be reading and food I might be snacking on!

  4. Lovely bag. So professional. My budget can not afford such exquisite items. Would look great in my legal work. Just an assistant. Thanks for sharing.

  5. i usually end up needing to carry so much stuff since i have two kids that aren’t capable of holding things. i could also carry more things for me, like actual books instead of depending on my phone when i’m out in public waiting on things. this is a great giveaway!

  6. I’ve never had a proper vegan bag, and certainly not a high-fashion one. So I can see myself using this bag as a good go-to everyday sort of purse to carry around all of my basics, plus the extra vegan snacks that I’m usually carrying around 🙂

  7. My surface pro (that hopefully my husband is getting for me!) and of course my wallet and phone and everything else that seems to collect in my bag.

  8. I’ve loved Gunas for years! My first bag felt like it broke the bank, but it’s so worth it to support an ethical company making high quality, beautiful pieces. This looks like a great bag for tooling about town, running errands, and picking up odds and ends.

  9. the essentials: wallet, phone, keys, lip balm; other things that are nice to have: notebook and pen, snack, sunglasses

  10. This is a beautiful bag. I would tote around a lot! Phone, make up, tablet, etc. Thanks!

  11. Love this! I’m trying to only purchase clothing and accessories from ethical, sustainable companies – but sadly they are hard to find!
    Thanks for highlighting this company!

  12. I work in the school system in FL and need a go to bag to tote my stuff to classrooms! It’s professional looking yet casual and looks roomy enough to hold what I need. Beautiful bag!

  13. I would use the bag for everyday items like my cell phone, my make-up and my wallet. I really like that the bag is vegan!

  14. This would be the perfect size to carry around work stuff! I’m a crystal worker and artist, so I always have random odds and ends from nature on me. I’d love a vegan way to carry them about 🙂

  15. That bag is so cute! Like you I still have a few leather items from my pre-gan days but I’m trying to transition to 100% vegan goods going forward 🙂

  16. I’d use the GUNAS bag to tote around all of my work stuff — laptop, note books, makeup, etc.

  17. I just finished graduate school and started my first real job, this would be the perfect ‘big girl’ bag!