When I first went vegan, it was all about the food. I simply refused to eat animal products. I felt like I had found my truth. It was amazing! I was on top of the world. Then, I realized that VEGAN meant an entire way of life. I began to notice that animal products were in eeeeverything . . . my toiletries, my beauty products, my clothes and accessories. I realized that my closet was full of non vegan friendly items and the more I looked at my bags and boots, the more I saw skin rather than high quality fabrics. This was so disturbing to me that I ended up gathering those items and getting rid of them. While I felt relieved by cleansing my closet of animal products, I was a bit saddened by the thought that I would have to settle for cheaper fabrics from that point on, or so I thought . . .
In my past, I actually preferred leather. I always felt bothered when I thought about what leather really was, but I would purposely focus on the fact that the quality would allow me to save money in the long run (selfish, I know). Here are two thoughts I frequently had while shopping for handbags and shoes prior to going vegan:
- ” It is better to use more of the animal, like it’s skin, if we are going to slaughter it for food anyway.”
- “If I don’t buy leather goods than I will have to shop at a department store for faux items that will soon peel or tear.”
I now know that both beliefs are completely false. Number one is false because animals used for fashion are totally different from the animals used for creating food products. I discovered number 2 to be false when I hopelessly googled “vegan leather handbags” for the first time. I truly had no expectations for finding a superb quality handbag brand that didn’t use leather in their products. As I scrolled through my findings, a brand called Gunas New York caught my eye. As I browsed through their collections, my heart sunk. I couldn’t believe these bags existed. I read through the site’s ethics & sustainability page and literally began to tear up. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that someone could care so much about style and ethics simultaneously. It always seemed to me that fashion, as much as I loved it, almost had to be cruel to exist. Gunas New York was the brand that proved otherwise.
Designer and animal lover, Sugandh G. Agrawal began Gunas New York in 2009. While, “We can look and feel good without harming other living beings” is her simple and straight forward mission statement, the thought and compassion behind the brand she created goes deeper than you’d ever suspect. Gunas New York believes that animals are not a “property” of humans. They are against the human nature of bullying and the desire to dominate all other species.
From the materials used, to the treatment of the people who are physically bringing her designs to life, Sugandh is dedicated to an outstanding code of ethics. Her commitments are heart felt and clearly stated:
“We advocate conscious consumerism over fast fashion. We make “victim-free” fashion full of love for all. We will not participate in any kind of exploitation, be it towards our planet, people or animals.”
As you scroll through the online shop or stroll through the actual store, you can take comfort in knowing that each item was made with utmost TLC.
My Top Picks
I am already the proud owner of the “Ridley” bag in black . . .
Also, this bag has the perfect amount of space to fit all the things I need and the handful of items I just like to take with me . . .
I can wear my Ridley bag with basically any random outfit I create. I just pair it with some black shoes and everything comes together 🙂
Refer & Earn
Sugandh’s heart doesn’t just go out to the animals spared and the people who make up Gunas New York. Because she is so grateful for the support she gets as a designer of slow fashion, doing things the hard but more ethical way, she put together a Refer & Earn Program as a warm Thank You to the supporters and customers. You can follow the link below to begin shopping for your own GUNAS bag and enjoy $20 off of your purchase!
I hope you enjoy discovering the many high quality ALL VEGAN options there are in the world as much as I do! My Discoveries literally BEGAN with GUNAS NEW YORK and as I continue to find more and more amazing options for everyday items, I promise to share them with you!
with Love and Compassion,