Dubai school becomes the first in the world to add vegan Thaely shoes to its uniform

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A school in Dubai has cemented its commitment to sustainability by adding recycled vegan shoes from Thaely to its compulsory school uniform.

The Swiss International Science School of Al Jaddaf, the largest outside of Switzerland, is the first in the world to incorporate the sustainable Y2K Pro trainer into its official uniform.

Ruth Burke, Director and General Manager of the school, said: “It’s fantastic to find a cool local brand — created by a young student — that is sustainable and that our students really love.

“We encourage our students to think outside the box and Thaely shows what’s possible when you really focus on something. We want our students to feel comfortable and look smart, but also hopefully every time they look down at their feet, they are reminded of our collective, global responsibility to act sustainably and the power to pursue your dreams.

Scroll through the gallery below to see the regional brands at the forefront of 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 is visually inspired by basketball trainers from the early 2000s and is vegan certified.

Very vegan, ethical and sustainable sneakers.  Photo: Thaely

“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 part of its uniform,” Bhave said.

“Each sneaker uses recycled components made from 10 used plastic bags, 12 used plastic bottles, and industrial rubber waste. All components, including glue, are Peta Certified Vegan.

Alarmed by the scale of plastic waste, Bhave decided to help reuse some of the 100 billion plastic bags produced each year. Although 12 million barrels are used to make the bags, each one is used – on average – for only twelve minutes before being discarded. Left to litter the landscape, each takes up to 1,000 years to decompose, and an estimated 100,000 marine animals a year are damaged by plastic each year.

In addition to the environmental certificates, each pair of shoes is sold in a recycled paper box tinted with coffee grounds and encrusted with basil seeds to be replanted. The shoes also come in a shopping bag consisting of four plastic bottles. Since its launch, 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 trainers are now available with a special exclusive discount code for students and parents, and we can’t wait to see some of our 1800 students all looking great in their new Thaelys.

Updated: July 06, 2022, 3:30 p.m.

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