Friday 6 July 2018


gunas handbags luxury vegan bags

When I first started becoming vegan I was worried about giving up meat and cheese, I thought it would be really hard, and it was. But something I knew would be easy for me to give up was leather. Why? Firstly, leather is unbelievably cruel, secondly leather is so unnecessary with all the vegan-friendly alternatives, thirdly, I've never really been into leather, haha. But in general, without the argument of 'it tastes good', I personally think that giving up leather is something everyone can do very easily - vegans and non-vegans alike. When people ask me for advice on how to become vegan, I say: step by step. And in my opinion, the easiest (and thus the first step) is giving up leather. But is it really easy to give up leather? Is leather even cruel? And if it is, are there any luxury vegan bags out there that actually look good? In this post I'm going to look at:

  • Is leather vegan?
  • Luxury vegan handbags
  • Gunas handbags review (my personal favourite)
  • Other vegan bag brands

1. Is Leather Vegan?

The short answer is: no, leather is not vegan. Although lots of people associate the word vegan with "a person who won't eat or drink animal products" it actually extends to "a person who won't eat, drink or use animal products" which includes wearing animal fur and, of course, their skin. Leather is made from the skin of an animal - mostly cows; but deer, elks, lambs, pigs, buffalos, goats, oxen, yaks, horses, kangaroos and zebras are all used along with crocodiles, snakes, ostriches and even stingrays.

Cats and dogs are also used too.

None of these animals can live without their skin, hence all leather comes from a dead animal. But it's worse than that, most leather animals are seen as commodities and thus are treated barbarically for hours, days - sometimes even weeks - before they are finally killed. I don't want to show gross videos and photos on here, but you can look at them here, here and here.

But aren't the skins going to go to waste anyway? Don't all beef cows also end up as leather cows? Firstly, although most leather cows also become beef cows (aka reared for leather, the by-product goes to beef), it doesn't work the other way around: not all beef cows can be used as leather cows, in fact, most can't. Because when you think about it, you know beef cows are abused and maltreated, of course, their skin isn't going to be up-to-scratch for high-class leather (or even cheap leather). Secondly though, in a world of "cows are going to die for beef, why not use the skins", how about just don't eat beef? #justsaying 😘

Even if you don't care about cows and other animals, the leather industry is exploitative to humans too - people who work at or live near tanneries (where cow skin becomes leather) often suffer from cancers and lung damages due to working with toxic chemicals needed to make leather. Plus, it's also an environmental issue too, said chemicals get washed away into fresh water and that's before we even talk about the fossil fuels wasted making leather.

2. Is It Easy to Avoid Leather?

It turns out leather was harder to avoid than I first expected, but, like a lot of things with veganism it's just an adjustment, know the facts and soon it becomes second nature. Firstly, I learnt that there are things like suede which don't really look like leather but are in fact made of animal: suede is also not vegan. Then I noticed that in a lot of non-vegan bags and shoes, the majority of the bag/shoe wasn't even made of leather, it was just a tiny part of it - a bit of leather used for decoration or something - that's soooo unnecessary. Some vegans say that you shouldn't wear fake leather because it encourages the idea that leather looks good and makes leather desirable. Personally, I think vegans shouldn't wear fake leather just because it makes things easier - if you avoid anything that looks like it could be leather, then there's no chance of you accidentally purchasing leather.

Luckily (or unluckily?) sales assistants still think leather is desirable and often insist that their products are leather, not knowing that that's totally not what I'm looking for. Aka you're more likely to be told something is leather when it's not than be told something is not leather when it is - which is good news for us, I suppose. But, of course, the easiest way to avoid leather is to shop at stores that only carry vegan-friendly products. I don't know about you but I'd much rather support those stores anyway. They're often (not always but very often) also ethical when it comes to human rights and the environment too - it's funny how that goes hand in hand lol. But vegan stores... isn't that a bit of a problem? Aren't vegans renown for being unfashionable, unattractive, losers with bad hair and skin and a protein deficiency?

attractive vegan thing no. 1.
(If my point isn't clear, this guy is vegan and he's really attractive.)

attractive vegan thing no. 2.
(and this guy too)

3. Luxury Vegan Handbags

So is it possible to find luxury vegan bags that are both vegan and beautiful? When it comes to fashion, vegans, unfortunately, have a bad rep for being unfashionable. Is that still the case? There must, of course, be ugly vegan handbags out there that are made of scratchy materials, and dull colours, but what if you're a business person who wants to look all business-y for business? What if you're a sugar baby who wants to look pretty for papa? What if you just have money to burn and want to show people that? Are there luxury vegan handbags out there for you?

Gunas Handbags (+ Discount Code!)

Enter Gunas Handbags or Gunas The Brand (or Gunas New York, they have a lot of titles). Gunas Handbags was the first 100% vegan handbag brand in the USA.

gunas handbags

I tried (read: was gifted because I'm a blogger) out their Cottontail Raspberry Purse and fell head-over-heels in love with it. And no, not just because it was free. Firstly, there is, of course, the raspberry colour:

gunas handbags

(Yes, I did a photoshoot with my bag, yes I am a disgrace. No I am not sorry.) Secondly there's the size and the size is absolutely perfect for me - that's what she said - but honestly it fits in everything I need, without giving me extra space to shove things in there that I don't really need. What does that mean? It means phone, wallet, kindle, sunglasses and keys:

gunas vegan handbags

Aka great for minimalism. But it doesn't stop there vegan travellers, it's the perfect size for carry on:

gunas handbags review

What does this vegan take on her carry on? Phone, wallet, kindle, keys again, plus lipstick and camera. Sunglasses fit snuggly and safely on the top, and headphones go round my neck. Now you know. Even though you didn't ask. Moving on. So... did it last though? (That's what she said.) At £145 a pop you're probably going to want some good wear and tear with that. Don't worry, I put it through it's paces: I used this bag almost every day for a year and a half. I took it on planes, trains, buses, cars. I took it to Africa. I took it to Spain, Poland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, the UK.. Okay you get the picture, I'll stop it. After a year and a half of hardcore heavy usage I found this:

luxury vegan handbags

Little discoloured indents. Suddenly top luxury vegan handbag was shifting more towards 'wouldn't pick it up at a charity shop'. Luckily I found a solution:

gunas vegan handbags

Acrylic paint. Good texture good colour, leaving it, as good as new:

gunas vegan handbags review

That beautiful raspberry colour didn't fade or change in any way, it stills pops pure pink. Unfortunately these photos don't reflect that - I made the mistake of taking these photos and painting it at night and my camera didn't capture it as well as it does in the day:

best vegan bags

The other piece I tried was the Twiggy Mustard Wallet, and again, I love the colour:

gunas discount

And it's also the perfect size. I'm even able to just take this out when I don't want to take a whole bag because my phone fits snuggly in this wallet.

gunas handbags

What I love the most about both pieces is they really have that balance between ethical and luxury. My first priority with my fashion is that it's ethical, and Gunas easily ticks all those boxes. They are of course vegan. But they don't stop there, they're also eco-conscious and ethical - they use eco-friendly materials and are sweatshop-free.

This is really important, in a fashion world that's slowly (but surely) becoming more and more vegan-friendly, it could be easy to stick with other inhumane practices (like sweatshops). As veganism becomes more fashionable, you can be sure that if you slap a vegan sticker on it people will buy it, often without thinking if it's unethical in other ways. (Case in point, McDonald's bringing out a McVegan burger. We know you're still evil bstrds.) That's why I'm super happy that Gunas is ethical all-round!

And when it comes to luxury, you can see how beautiful their bags are. Whilst all their materials are ethical, they're also luxurious too - example: tags are made from recycled metal hardware coated in 18K gold. They're super stylish and are my favourite luxury vegan bags. If you wanna you can read my full review here: Gunas Handbags discount code + Review. Thanks to Travelling Weasels (that's also me lol) I can offer you a 10% Gunas handbags discount code simply use this link and WEASELS10 - note the code won't work without that link.

4. Wrap Up & Some Other Vegan Bag Brands

Gunas aren't the only luxury vegan handbags on the block, there's also Corkor, Vegetal, Marco M Kerry and DaseinCorkor (below on the left) are made of (you guessed it) cork. Founders Natália and Vítor grew up around and thus fell in love with cork oak trees. Cork is sustainable, light, smooth and resistant to both water and abrasions. Vegetal (right) offer a cheaper yet still luxurious vegan handbag. Their bags are made from vegan leather, sythetics and, like Guna's bags, they have sturdy metallic clasps.

gunas vegan handbags

I'm thoroughly impressed with Gunas Handbags, they are some of the best vegan bags on the market and are truly luxurious. If you're looking for luxury vegan bags - look no further! More of my awful vegan fashion reviews: vegan shoe review - FAIR. Also, here is a video about how Gunas bags are made - enjoy :)

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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