// A NEW VISION FOR FASHION //
Welcome to GUNAS New York, America’s first 100% Luxury Vegan Handbag Brand! I'm Sugandh (Sue-gun-d), the Founder & Creative mind behind GUNAS. As an Industrial Designer, an activist and a fashion addict, I’m dedicated to utilizing my skills and business acumen for a cause very close to my heart. Being a life-long vegetarian and now vegan I found a deep disconnect between my eating and fashion choices. Having grown up in India, a country where cows are worshipped and ironically also slaughtered for their meat and skin, I knew in my heart that I had to do something about it. So on a cold wintery night in 2009, GUNAS was born in the warmth of my studio apartment in Manhattan.
With an intention to do everything “right” and making a product that was not only vegan but also ethically made in a sweatshop-free environment I began with a modest 8 piece collection made in NYC. Unable to maintain affordable prices, I pursued production in China. Uncomfortable with non-transparency and the working conditions in factories I set out to start my own studio in India where I trained artisans and worked closely with them to make the collections.
Finding my path to “doing things right” has not been easy. In an industry that is practically non-existent, no formulas to follow and being self-funded, I’ve had my challenges but my drive to continue doing what I have been has not dulled even for a moment. In 2014 the US Government handed me my permanent residency to the United States based on my work as a Fashion Activist. I could now continue developing the brand and striving to achieve my “American” dream. A dream where the world is full of kindness, everyone is free to live in harmony and our choices (whether food or fashion) don’t embody any form of cruelty towards people or animals.
// WINNER of BEST Green Handbag Designer by Instyle 2015 //
Enjoy a glimpse of my journey in the world of Fashion. A decade of work squeezed into an action packed 2.5 minute video! This clip was screened at the 13th Independent Handbag Awards in New York City in 2018.
// WINNER of MACY's BEST Retail Handbag by an Independent 2018 //