Tag Archives: Eco-Friendly

Compassion Couture Earth Month Sale

1 Apr

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I’ve been having some tech issues getting photos of my camera, which means a delay in blog posts on my end.  Luckily I heard from Jill at Compassion Couture with news of their awesome sale I can share with you instead!

In honor of Earth Month, Compassion Couture is having a HUGE sale – 7 Days Only! From April 1st – April 7th.  Receive 20% off full priced items with code EarthMonth20 and 10% off already reduced items with code EarthMonth10. It’s perfect timing to spruce up your cruelty-free wardrobe!

They’ve also recently added a bunch of new vegan/eco brands such as CoraLlei, Krze Studio & Ella Vickers.

So do yourself a favor and stock up on some cute sandals for spring.  And get a pedicure.  Spring is here!

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Interview / Sugandh of Gunas the Brand

5 Sep

Back in April of this past year, I had the pleasure of attending GUNAS the Brand’s Earth Month Celebration party.

I was extremely excited at the time to attend because I had long been a GUNAS fan, though I had yet to actually see their bags in person. Gunas is a 100% vegan, cruelty free and eco-friendly brand, who’s handbags and wallets are as well designed as some of the most high-end non-vegan brands. I love how tough, yet chic their designs are. There’s not one bag in their collection one can describe as being “granola”, which is sometimes hard to find in a vegan specific brand.

At the event, I got to meet Sugandh, the brand’s founder and designer.  We’ve since stayed in touch, and she very recently took some time to do an interview for Brooklyn Bliss readers.

Tell us your vegetarian/vegan story!  Why did you go veg?  How long have you been veg? Etc.

There were a lot of things that made me turn vegetarian. I come from a meat-eating family… but I turned vegetarian at the age of 12. It was just a decision I took at that age. I’ve always loved animals and couldn’t comprehend how I could eat something that I loved. Each time I would read an article highlighting the horrors and cruelty of the leather and meat industry, I would be more convinced and happy about a decision I made at such a young age. It wasn’t till I moved to the United States that I realized how unaware people are about the “behind the scenes” situation of the leather Industry that I decided to take matters in my own hands.   

How did GUNAS come to be?  

I am a trained Industrial Designer and an entrepreneur at heart. In order to be an entrepreneur I really had to do something that I would love doing forever, felt passionate about and wouldn’t fall out of love with easily. The idea of creating GUNAS was a complete package for me. Having witnessed the horrific side effects of the leather industry on our natural resources while growing up in India I was aware of it’s harsh consequences. India is the biggest supplier of leather to the world and also a country where the cows are worshipped. This equation just did not add up in my mind. That’s when the idea of creating a designer brand of cruelty free fashion products struck me. I used my design and business skills to create GUNAS and launched it in 2009 at New York Fashion Week through Nolcha.    

Were you involved in the fashion industry prior to forming GUNAS? And if so was it difficult working in an industry where compassionate design is not a priority? 

When I was developing my plans for GUNAS, I only had my Industrial Design experience to bank on. I had worked in several design mediums but never fashion. So I decided to work with a few local handbag designers in New York, learn the tricks of the trade and then start my own. While working with these leather handbag brands, I could easily tell how ignorant they were about “vegan” fashion. I remember a co-worker of mine once commented that all leather was eco-friendly since it was derived from nature. It was such moments that made my conviction to start GUNAS even stronger. GUNAS is not just a handbag company. We are a brand with a philosophy and a heart.  

Vegan/vegetarian shoes and handbags have come a long way since I went vegan. What are your thoughts on the current variety on the market right now, and how does that play into how you design for GUNAS?

Yes, vegan fashion has certainly come a long way. But since this market is so niche, I find that most other vegan handbag brands, in order to keep their costs extremely low and target a larger audience beyond those in favor of veganism are sorting to use inferior materials and production methods. They have fallen in the traps of fast fashion, similar to the fast food industry. Just being vegan is not enough in my opinion. At GUNAS, we use a variety of alternative fabrics ranging from Japanese nylons, coated canvases, recycled fabrics for our linings and also rescued fabrics. Also, we produce in limited quantities and custom orders in order to avoid over production.  

Take us through the design process, from inception to production for your products.  

The design process at GUNAS is quite simple. The process starts with the brands classic silhouettes and elements. Each season we’ll introduce 1-2 new silhouettes and do our trend research of the colors and fabrics for that particular season and incorporate it in our designs. We try to design bags that will transition easily within your wardrobe from one season to the next. 

There are a lot more options now for shoes and accessories made of man-made materials from mass retailers like Target and  Payless.  Do you consider these retailers competition, considering they are much less expensive than vegan, eco-friendly brands?  Or is it like comparing apples to oranges?

I certainly don’t find retailers like Target or Payless as competition. I see them as a platform of introduction to vegan fashion for consumers. It’s always good to have less expensive, affordable options available out there. It’s the first step of awareness for a vegan newbie. When a person really gets into it and studies deeper, they’ll find that they need to go beyond just supporting brands that use “Man-made” materials. That’s when they’ll discover GUNAS. 

What are some of your favorite fashion related websites and publications?

I love browsing through Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily and Marie Claire on a regular basis. Besides that I’m sure to keep an eye out on Pinterest and visit blogs such as Fashion Me Green, Eco Salon, Stylelist, Hypbeast to name a few.   

Where are your current favorite places to shop?

I enjoy shopping from small boutiques and specialty retailers. You can always find unique things from lesser-known designers. I specially enjoy walking down streets of SOHO in New York.  

What’s some of your favorite pieces in your current collection?

I absolutely adore my Rockstar bag and Scarlet wallet. When travelling over the weekend, I love carrying my Paris bag with me. These are my favorite pieces. 

 

What’s next in store for GUNAS? 

We just launched our family-owned studio in India this summer. All our bags will now be hand-crafted in-house in a 100% guaranteed sweat-shop free environment. We hope to continue developing this resource this year. We are already accomplishing a lot of custom bag orders, which we are able to beautifully make in our own facility.  Each bag will now be handmade, personally inspected by me for perfection.

Thank you Sugandh for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to speak to us!

Know what else is in store for Brooklyn Bliss readers?  GUNAS is giving away one of their chic wallets to lucky follower!  Tune in tomorrow for the giveaway details.

Vegan Versions / Jeffrey Campbell for Convert

29 Aug

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Jeffrey Campbell and Convert have collaborated once again, offering vegan and eco-conscious fashionistas styles from one of the fashion industry’s favorite shoe designers.  All without any leather or animal based glues, and using sustainable materials.

The new collaboration features several new vegan Jeffrey Campbell styles including: Sue Bee, Motown, Night Walk, Rock Me, Anehall, Trudeau, Lane and the 99 Tie.

As in the past, these are special collaborations with Jeffrey Campbell and are unique to Convert. They’re not available anywhere else. And did I mention they’re vegan!

If you’re interested in ordering them, or would like to see other Jeffrey Campbell vegan styles Convert has to offer, go to their eBay Store. In addition to these styles it also looks like they have some vegan Litas in stock, so get them while they have them!

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What’s your favorite? I may pick up a pair of the red Lane “hi” heels myself.

Gunas Earth Month Celebration Party

4 Apr

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

After lusting over their handbags for months, I finally got to see Gunas‘ handbags up close and personal at their Annual Earth Month Celebration bash.  The event was held at Candle 79 (I had never been there, awesome restaurant!) and featured fantastic organic wines and hor dourves.  While there, I got to meet the brand’s founder, Sugandh Agrawal and got to talk about cruelty free handbags with her and the rest of the guests for the entire party.  It’s a vegan girls dream.

Seeing their collection up close did not disappoint.  I love the design aesthetics of their bags.  Lots of chains, hardware and studs, which is totally up my alley.  There was even one decked out with faux fur.  I find although there are a lot of great vegan fashion brands out there, that many of them cater to more of a boho aesthetic, which is not really my style at all.  It’s so refreshing to see another brand come along that takes vegan, eco-friendly design in a totally different direction.

I have a lot more to say about Gunas and my favorites, but I’m going to save that for another post.  In the meantime, here’s a post full of cruelty free handbag and wallet eye candy for you to feast on.

 

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Gunas Vegan Handbag Showcase

Vegan Manicures

23 Mar

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Probably the only really girly thing I like to go do is get a mani-pedi.  I always feel way more put together when my nails are done.  It’s weird.  Otherwise I’m pretty much a total tomboy.  My clothes need to feel like pajamas and my makeup and hair can’t take longer than five minutes.

Even before going vegan, it’s always concerned me how many chemicals are used in nail care products.  Most all the self-care products I use are organic and vegan.  Though there are a few salons in NYC that offer organic vegan manicures, like the Green Spa, they’re a bit out of the way for me to make it a normal occurence.  So instead over the past several months I’ve been searching for eco-friendly vegan nail products I could use at home to do my mani-pedis myself.

I was so excited to see the Time Out New York Vegan Style Guide listed a new bath and body shop in my neighborhood called Skinny Skinny.  After checking out their website, I saw they stock the full line of Priti NYC nail products.  I could get not only vegan, chemical free nail polish but also nail polish remover!  Score!

This past weekend while walking the dog with my hubby we passed the store and I ran in quick to pick up a few things.  I got two polish colors.  I allowed my husband to pick out one he’d like to see me wear (and he picked bright, florescent neon pink), and I picked out silver.  Ever since seeing Andy’s silver manicure on her blog this past week I’ve been obsessed with it.  I also picked up Priti NYC’s soy based polish remover.

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Sunday night I went ahead and gave myself my first mani-pedi in ages.  I was beyond happy with the results as well as the quality of these awesome, eco and vegan friendly nail products.  They were super easy to use and apply and I didn’t even really need a base or top coat.

I’m totally planninng on stocking up on a variety of their polishes so I can change up my manicure look more often.  What are your favorite nail colors for spring?  Any suggestions on colors for me to pick up?