GUNAS: High Fashion, Cruelty Free, 100% Vegan Handbag Giveaway!
September 4, 2015

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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.”

note-sugandh-pic

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. 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 🙂

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

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

  16. What I would like to tote in the bag? A cute shade of lipgloss, sunglass that are adorbs, and an awesome book I am reading at my leisure.

    What will I honestly tote in my bag? Extra g-tube supplies, lip gloss that my whole family can use, something to wipe snotty noses with, and whatever essential oil my kids are needing at the time. (just keeping it real). But at least I wouldn’t look like a walking pharmacy while I did it.

  17. I am the type of person who holds onto their bag until it falls apart. I only recently stopped using an already used coach bag that I got from a thrift store! So I would use this bag everyday for my wallet, keys, cellphone, and my SLR camera.

  18. I’d take it to work, with my laptop, iPad, and notebook (all essentials!). Now that I’m on a university campus I feel like I need a classy bag.

  19. I would keep everything in it for my commute to work in NYCand then use it on weekends for my shopping and traveling adventures. It’s a great bag for everything

  20. I would love this bag to carry my lip balm, wallet , phone and my little dog! He would jump into the bag so I can carry him around and take him everywhere with me!

  21. These bags looks great! I would use my bag for everyday stuff-wrangling — laptop, sunglasses, notebook, wallet, whatever. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  22. Since my name is Nicole this bag would definitely fit into my everyday life. It would fit my water bottle, veg snacks and vegan toiletries.

  23. First, thank you for admitting to still having some pre-gan items that you won’t give up until they wear out! Those Birkenstocks that my sister found for $11 at the thrift store AND fit me perfectly? Yep, wearing those suckers ’til they fall apart! Of course the next pair I own will be vegan and I’m very happy to have that option.

    About that gorgeous bag, I will tote all my stuff in it! Wallet, laptop, asthma inhaler, all the necessities of life.

  24. Gunas is one of my favorite brands. This bag looks perfect for carrying around a water bottle, granola bar and a copy of VegNews or Laika.

  25. What a beautiful bag! I have a friend who recently went vegan and was wondering about accessories and facial care products. I definitely know what I can recommend in the accessories department. Thanks for posting!

  26. I’m on a constant search for the perfect size bag that will fit wallet, water bottle, book, phone, sweater, etc., and this one looks like it could fit the bill! Knowing that it is cruelty-free makes it even better. Thanks for posting such a great give-away!

  27. I would go everywhere with my new tote bag, and proudly share that it is beautiful, fashionable, and cruelty-free!

  28. As much as I love the look and feel of leather bags, I cannot stand knowing that they are made from animals. I would totally sport this bag at school and fill it with my organic chemistry textbook ;)!

  29. I would love to tote around my lip balm, journal, my current library book, my headphones, and wallet.

  30. Carrying around my everyday essentials (especially my books, since I’m an avid reader) would make my life so much more easy, and stylish in this bag

  31. What an absolutely gorgeous bag!!! I would tote around baby wipes (even though my littlest ones are almost 4, wipes always come in handy for something!), my wallet (duh!), chapstick (especially needed in the winter), Larabars (you never know when you’re gonna need a snack), tissues (it’s terrible to be without when you really need one!), and probably various toys, dolls, stickers, legos, etc. that the kids get tired of holding and hand off to me. 🙂

  32. I’d tote around my wallet, car keys, some makeup, pens, and of course all the snacks 😉

  33. Literally just the most gorgeous bag ever! It’s beautiful in that color! Gunas is so amazing, I love that all their bags are Vegan and so beautiful.

  34. I would love to have this bag because I can use it for work and for when I am out and about! It is hard where I live to find cruelty free bags- I have to make a living so it is difficult to save up for a good quality vegan bag to order online to replace my leather one. I look for opportunities like this because ( I’m not so sure about others, no offense) but I really am not made of money and it frustrates me because transportation to work, food and bills-to name a few- take priority over being able to replace worn out pre-vegan items. Black goes with everything and its roominess would be perfect to slip my laptop into it if ever I want to go to a cafe for work or for anything volunteer-related.

  35. I would love to use this beautiful bag tote the essentials–ipad, water bottle, books, etc. Thanks!

  36. I would carry all my vegan snacks and vegan wallet! It is hard to find cute vegan purses. I would love to win this!!! Beautiful!!

  37. I’d love this bag to tote around all my essentials (wallet, makeup bag, etc.) and use it as a work bag for carrying my laptop.

  38. I’d probably give it to my wife, buuuut if I were to carry it around I would have books and a laptop in it.

  39. This is such a beautiful bag. I would love to win this! I have been in need of a cruelty-free bag to strut around in to show that women don’t need leather to create a fashionable and beautiful purse! I would put in this bag anything I need at the time, such as books, cell, wallet, food for when I’m on-the-go.

  40. I would love to win this GUNAS bag! It’s beautiful! I too am still slowly transitioning to a vegan lifestyle (clothes, shoes, accessories, other household items). This would be a great start. I’ve never heard of this brand but perused the website after reading this blog post and they make some really beautiful items!

  41. Ha I would tote around ALL THE THINGS, especially my ever-present snack bag of vegan bars/nuts/etc. in case I am hungry and can’t find something vegan easily.

  42. all my normal crap and the vegan snacks i schlep to work that. don’t fit in my current bag haha.. thanks for the giveaway!

  43. Thank you so much for this introduction. I have bookmarked their website under shopping. Going to enter the giveaway right now. I would use this when traveling and going to all day events!

  44. What a gorgeous bag! I would love to tote around my sunglasses, ipad, and wallet! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    Erin

  45. This would be perfect! I’ve been looking for something (and have nearly given up) that is vegan and that can help me tote all of my stuff for grad school/dietetic internship in Chicago (that I just started!). I’m realizing how valuable these kinds of bags are for professionalism and city living– and I love the brand and website, I have never heard of it before.

  46. I’d carry my work stuff, but also some school study books for when I’m on the metro. I always feel like a kid carrying around a backpack, but purses don’t fit my books! This would be perfect.

  47. What a beautiful bag! I’d carry my wallet, keys, notebook, and phone, and leave room for extras!

  48. Money, medication, notepad,pen,photo of my son( the most important item), mini ipad etc.-the bag looks nice and strong- it would need to be to carry all my stuff!

  49. I’d tote around the usual, wallet, phone, my current book I’m reading, healthy snacks, water!

  50. what a sweet giveaway! I would carry around my shopping list for the farmers market, my phone, keys, all the basics… plus I”ve usually got a spare collabsible bag for the market, some bandaids, and a vegan bar of some sort, in case I experience emergency hunger. 🙂

  51. I would tote around all the everyday basic stuff. I have a lot of kids, so I tend to carry around plenty for me and then some for them. This bag looks lovely and large enough to do just that. What a wonderful resource for beautiful, and animal conscious fashion. Thanks.

  52. Thank you SO much for this giveaway Gena! After giving up all animal products in my diet, along with beauty products, lifestyle items have been the hardest. I find it challenging not to find awesome options, but like you said, what to do with the many expensive items you have that you don’t want to waste. I’ll probably donate mine to Goodwill, simply because of bags like these. While I don’t like the idea of giving others things made from animal products, I also don’t believe in throwing them out, or just letting them sit and go to waste. It’s a perplexing issue for sure.

    This bag would be a fantastic item to replace my current huge black bag that I love (but is not cruelty-free). I tend to like “all in one” bags that I rarely have to change, and this one definitely fits the bill. THANK YOU and GUNAS FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

  53. Well, I’m a working mom of a 5yo, so my tote would be filled with snacks and toys for my little one, my laptop and a book for me, and countless receipts, crumpled snack wrappers, and crumbs (just being honest, here!)

  54. I’d carry around everything – from my kindle to snacks, from my ipod to my favorite pen. 🙂

  55. I’m about to start my first real job, so I would carry things I’d need during the day like makeup and my wallet and maybe my lunch bag if that fits too since I will be taking public transportation!

  56. My vegan bag collection is fairly colorful, and I could use an awesome “basic” black bag.

  57. I’ve never carried a purse before, so I would put in it all the things I usually carry in my pocket – phone, license, car key – plus a notebook, pencil, wallet, and lip balm.

  58. I am so excited about this giveaway! Like you, it was easy for me to transition to a vegan diet, since I have extreme aversions to animal foods. I love the eco-friendly vegan lifestyle, and am working towards it one step at a time. 🙂

  59. I’m in school and would probably fill it with snacks and other things I need when I’m on campus all day!

  60. I would use it to carry around my wallet, a brush, a water bottle, and some snacks – all the essentials!

  61. My company has a “BYOL” policy–we all have to use our personal laptops. That means lugging mine to and from the office every day, so I’d tote that, some homemade energy bites (like your peanut butter and jelly balls) since I always have a snack in case I ever need fuel fast, and some lip balm because I can never be without it.