Love People . Love Animals . Love Planet®
// OUR STORY //
HIGH FASHION . ZERO CRUELTY
GUNAS is an independent high fashion label with a cause! Started in 2009 by designer and animal lover, Sugandh G. Agrawal, GUNAS’s heart and soul screams to be the voice of animals. With an award winning design and business background, Sugandh quit her 7-year corporate career as an Industrial designer at KitchenAid to start her own brand of cruelty-free fashion in New York. Her mission is strong and clear. Animals are NOT meant to be a part of fashion. We can look and feel good without harming other living beings. We need to connect our selves with what goes on behind the scenes and question our actions and their impacts.
What initially began as an all MADE IN NYC label, has now gone global to source and manufacture bags and shoes using artisan and small-scale ethical manufacturers from countries such as India, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Hong Kong. With styles ranging from totes, satchels, cross-body bags, wallets and backpacks GUNAS has a bag to suit your every mood and lifestyle need.
// THE BRAND MANIFESTO //
We are committed to being a 100% vegan brand.
We believe that animals are not a “property” of humans.
We are against the human nature of bullying & domination of other species.
We stand up to the culture of violence & suffering that we inherited against our will.
Justice, empathy and compassion are our core values.
We envision a world of peace, love and kindness that starts with each one of us.
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.
// WHY VEGAN //
Veganism is a lifestyle choice that’s all about protecting animals by avoiding the use of objects made from animals, animal by-products or using animal testing. Let’s just understand that Leather is “not”a by-product of the meat industry. Raising animals for food and leather requires huge amounts of feed, pasture land, water, and fossil fuels. Turning skin into leather requires massive amounts of energy and dangerous chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, many of them cyanide-based. Most leathers are chrome-tanned, a lot of which gets washed away into our fresh water supplies during the process of making leather. People who work in tanneries or live close by often suffer from cancer, lung damage caused by exposure to toxic chemicals used to process and dye the leather. “Non-leather” alternatives account for only a fraction of petroleum used in contrast to leather.
Leather not only causes suffering for the animals but also causes harm to our environment, the people that produce it and also those who choose to wear it.
// HANDMADE WITH LOVE //
Launched in 2009, the first ever Gunas collection was handmade by artisans in New York’s very own fashion district. Since then, we’ve explored production in China, India, Mexico, Italy and Spain. We are now producing all our beautifully thought out products in the heart of Seoul, Korea. Working with a group of small artisan studios where one group cuts, the other sews and the next finishes the bags, our products are artisanal, support a dying art of hand-making quality fashion in Korea due to competition from China.
Having seen first hand the unacceptable working conditions of Chinese factories and the trade oppression that other countries face due to cheap Chinese goods flooding the consumer market in every sector, we strongly support small manufacturers, artisan groups and are proud to be “NOT MADE IN CHINA”. As a part of our vegan ethos, it is important for us to promote fair play, give equal rights and stand against domination of any species, culture or country.
We maintain a personal connection with all our artisans through personal annual visits to their studios ensuring our high quality standards and ethical work conditions are maintained. As a part of our commitment to fair wages, we pay above average wages to our artisans which is further reflected in our pricing. No one and no being should pay the cost for our fashion, other than us.
// MATERIALS //
We are committed to using 100% vegan and cruelty-free materials. Our products are free of leather, silk, fur, wool, bone, horn and animal byproduct adhesives. We use a variety of alternatives in our construction such as:
– Polyurethane coated cotton canvas
– Microfibers upholstery fabrics
– Recycled plastic bottle lining (rPET)
– Recycled paperboard for inner construction
– Recycled metals for our hardware
All of these outer body materials contain plastics. While this is not a 100% eco-friendly alternative, it is a highly sustainable approach to replace the use of leather. Animal husbandry for food and fashion form 80% of our green house gas pollution. Not to mention the pollution of our fresh water resources from harmful chemicals and the blood of the animals washed off into rivers from leather production. Nearly 90% of the people involved in the leather production die from some sort of cancer due to chemicals and inks being absorbed into their skins. The plastic industry causes a fraction of the harm between the two options currently available to mankind.
// SO IS PLASTIC THE ONLY ANSWER? //
As the material industry is evolving to innovate on leather alternatives, even materials made from pineapple fibers, apple skins, grapes, mushroom contain some amount of plastic to make them waterproof and durable. In 2018, we set out on a quest to find the perfect alternative that was plastic free! We were able to source a beautiful local, authentic Korean material made from Mulberry plant leaf pulp. We call it MULBTEX (TM).
Mulbtex is 100% plastic free. It is a cotton base coasted with mulberry leaf pulp which has its own silky shine making it water proof and weather proof and as strong as silk. Mulberry leaves are the staple food for silk worms. We are bypassing the cruelty of killing the worms and extracting the silk protein from them and instead extracting it directly from the mulberry leaves. Our Moby bag is the world’s first plant-based men’s bag made from Mulbtex.
Mulbtex is Plastic & PVC Free
Mulbtex is feather light weight
Mulbtex is Water proof
Mulbtex ages/weathers like real leather