Don’t Just Do It, Do It Right with Thaely’s Sustainable Sneakers
If news of sneakers made out of plastic bottles would have flashed our idiot boxes a decade ago, it would have been met a similar fate to that of the Yeezy Foam Runners. But, since then the world has hopped on escalators with inventions from car-sized robots exploring the hot red exteriors of Mars to Alexa helping Gen-Z amp up their social skills. The uptick in technological advancement has also bled into the fashion industry, throwing it into the deep end of unfettered innovation.
The blessing of technology and a series of hit and trials of a business-design student bore fruit, materializing into sneakers made from plastic water bottles and bags. Ashay Bhave, a footwear design student who transitioned into a business degree has always been stupefied with sneakers, fashion, and how sustainability takes the centre stage, forking into both of the industries. His brand, Thaely as a sneaker brand has gone all out when it comes to sustainability. From ThaelyTex, a fabric made out of plastic bags as the upper to recycled rubber for the sole to plantable recycles paper used for shoeboxes, it’s the friendly neighborhood conscious sneaker brand you ought to look out for.
The birth of Thaely
Like all good things, the fabric took its sweet time to take shape in Bhave’s head. “Honestly it wasn’t like the way it is in the movies. It was a lot of trial and error. I had to do a lot of research like on how plastic reacts to temperature, chemicals, etc,” said Bhave. ThaelyTex’s journey towards materialization was no short of a Game Of Thrones episode, overflowing with drama, suspense, war (read: marketing) strategies, and some unfortunate deaths (of plastic bottles of course). From ideating on the fabric to approaching a shoe-maker to finally getting a rough prototype made, proving the fabric can be used as a replacement for leather.
The prototype saw the light of the day through a Shark Tank-like competition which lured in the Vice President of the Business Council as an investor, kickstarting the process of Thaely as a brand.
From then very beginning, the founding pillars of Thaley were cemented as sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of the whole process as much as possible. “We set up a unit with TrioTrap Technologies at their collection plant. So our emissions are low. It’s more centralized and easily monitored. By now we have recycled about 30,000 plastic bags and 25,000 plastic bottles and recycled them into about 1300 sneakers,” said Bhave on the progress of Thaely. He further added, “No chemicals are released in the process. Moreover, we're not burning the plastic, it's more of like a physical change.”
Commitment to panache with sustainability in the mix
When asked about the digs taken at high-end brands with statements like “Don’t Just Do It! Do It Right,” and if they need to do better with their claims regarding sustainability, Bhave replied in the affirmative. He said, “These other companies have just one sustainable product out of the hundreds of other products they have.” Building on the greenwashing of high-end brands, he said, “It's not just about making money but about doing it all ethically. We want to pay our photographers right and we want to pay our models right. Every single process has to be ethical and sustainable, that’s the goal and vision of Thaely.”
Transporting you to an aesthetic checkpoint was Bhave, “I definitely don't want to be fixated on a specific aesthetic. Now we're doing minimalism, because, it's something that's the most accessible right now. We want to do things that are more experimental and more out there. I wanted to come out with a sneaker that’s not only sustainable but is accessible to people, affordable, and then also wearable with everything.”