A Dubai school has cemented its commitment to sustainability by adding recycled, vegan shoes by Thaely to its mandatory school uniform.
The Swiss International Scientific School in Al Jaddaf, the largest outside Switzerland, is the first in the world to incorporate the sustainable Y2K Pro trainer into its official uniform.
Ruth Burke, the school's headteacher and chief executive, said: “It’s fantastic to find a cool, local brand — created by a young student — which is sustainable and which our pupils really like.
"We encourage our pupils to think out of the box and Thaely shows what’s possible when you really put your mind to something. 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 your dreams.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see the regional brands leading the way in sustainability
Thaely was launched in July 2021 by Dubai student and entrepreneur Ashay Bhave, and is named after the Hindi word for plastic bags. Wanting to create a shoe using only recycled plastic, Bhave won the Amity University Dubai Eureka start-up competition with his prototype in 2019, and he released the first commercial version two years later.
The shoe takes its visual cues from early 2000s basketball trainers and is certified vegan.
"The Thaely Y2K Pro is a revolution in the footwear industry, and the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai is the first school in the world to offer Thaely sneakers as a part of its uniform," Bhave said.
“Each sneaker uses recycled components made from 10 waste plastic bags, 12 waste plastic bottles and industrial rubber waste. All components, including the glue, are Peta-certified vegan.”
Alarmed by the sheer scale of plastic waste, Bhave set out to help repurpose some of the 100 billion plastic bags made every year. Although 12 million barrels are used manufacturing the bags, each one is used — on average — for just twelve minutes before being discarded. Left to litter the landscape, each one takes up to 1,000 years to decompose, and an estimated 100,000 marine animals per year are harmed by plastic each year.
In addition to the environmental credentials, 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 also come in a shopping tote made from four plastic bottles. Since launching, Thaely has diverted 48,000 bottles and 40,000 plastic bags from landfill.
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 1800 pupils all looking great in their new Thaelys.”