Dubai’s first bilingual International Baccalaureate School, The Swiss International School Dubai, has become the first to use vegan shoes as part of all its students’ uniforms. Based in Al Jadaf, the school uses Thaely‘s sustainable Y2K Pro trainers as the official shoes of the uniform.

Ruth Burke, the school’s principal and CEO, said,It’s fantastic to find a cool, local brand — created by a young student — which 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.  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.”

Thaely was created by Dubai student and entrepreneur Ashay Bhave. He won first place at Amity University Dubai’s 2019 Eureka start-up pitch competition. All components of the shoes, 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… 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.” The box where they are sold is made from recycled paper dyed with coffee grounds and embedded with basil seeds for replanting. According to the creators, since its launch, Thaely has saved more than 48,000 bottles and 40,000 plastic bags from being dumped in the landfill.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.