Cementing its commitment to sustainability, Swiss International School Dubai (SISD) has become the first school in the world to incorporate recycled, vegan, cruelty-free footwear into its uniform by introducing Thaely‘s sustainable Y2K Pro trainer.
Ruth Burke, the school’s Principal and CEO, explained: “It’s fantastic to find a cool, local brand – created by a young student – that is sustainable and which our pupils really like. At SISD, we encourage our pupils to think out of the box and to go the extra mile. Thaely shows what’s possible when you really put your mind to something.
The design is inspired by early 2000s basketball trainers
“We want our pupils to feel comfortable, and to look smart, but also, hope that every time they look at their feet, they are reminded of our collective, global responsibility to act sustainably, and the power of pursuing their dreams.”
The ethical vegan shoe brand is the creation of Dubai student and entrepreneur Ashay Bhave. He developed the prototype as a design exercise to find a solution to the problem of the 100 billion plastic bags used each year that use 12 million barrels of oil and kill 100,000 marine animals annually. The design along with its business plan won first place at Amity University Dubai’s 2019 Eureka start-up pitch competition, and he used the funding from the competition to develop a commercial version of the prototype.
“The Thaely Y2K Pro is a revolution in the footwear industry”
The design is inspired by early 2000s basketball trainers and all components, including the glue, are PETA-certified vegan. Bhave said: “Each sneaker uses recycled components made from 10 waste plastic bags, 12 waste plastic bottles and industrial rubber waste.” In addition, each pair of shoes is sold in a box made from recycled paper dyed with coffee grounds and embedded with basil seeds for replanting. The shoes are also packed in a shopping tote made from four plastic bottles.
Since its launch last year, Thaely, which takes its name from a word used in Hindi for plastic bags, has saved more than 48,000 bottles and 40,000 plastic bags from being dumped in the landfill.
“The Thaely Y2K Pro is a revolution in the footwear industry,” Burke said. “We are setting the bar with this exciting sustainable addition to our school uniform. These special sneakers are now available with a special exclusive discount code for pupils and parents, and we look forward to seeing some of our 1,800 pupils all looking great in their new Thaelys.”