Meet next-gen brand Thaely making sneakers out of garbage

Ashay Bhaave

Do you know that the fashion industry is the world’s biggest polluter? The industry corporates a total of 20% share in global industrial water pollution. Most of the clothes include microfibers of plastic which is again discarded into oceans causing a severe hazard to the water species. This plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose and thus poses a great threat to our biodiversity.

While many global brands are coming forward to contribute their share in sustainable fashion, not many of them guarantee 100% sustenance. Many footwear brands like Woodland and Paadkus do offer biodegradable footwear, they also produce several non-biodegradable products as well. Thus, in this race, a new competitor has set foot in the market- Thaely. It is a sustainable sneaker brand that makes shoes from waste plastic, in easy words, they reuse discarded plastic to form a new product.

And surprisingly, the brainchild behind all this is a 22-year-old, Ashay Bhaave.

This startup in India is making these sneakers out of garbage with a whopping $70 billion market. Each sneaker use at least 12 plastic bottles and a handful of trash bags. And for $110, they will be shipped anywhere in the world.

The young green entrepreneur Ashay Bhave has so far recycled 36,000 plastic bags and 25,000 plastic bottles into thousands of pairs of shoes in less than a year since production. Born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Ashay now resides in Dubai. Since a young age, he has always wanted to do better in contributing his share in the environment. Motivated by this passion, Bhave today has created a brand that offers 100% sustainable fashion.

Ashay Bhaave

The idea came to him when he was pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in 2017. The brand name itself means plastic bag in the Hindi language. He worked on the design as a project during her college years however he had turned that idea into reality. Ashay says that he has been aware as well as concerned about the growing plastic pollution and knows that there is almost no way of entirely recycling all the plastic bags. And so he found a solution in ThaelyTex, a fabric made entirely out of plastic but look and feel like leather. This was the perfect solution to the ever-growing plastic pollution.

They use around 10 plastic bags and 12 plastic bottles to create a single pair of Thaely Y2K Pros. The ThaelyTex is used to make the upper body of the shoes while for the sole they use rPET made from plastic bottles. Not just the shoes, in fact, the show box itself is also plantable and made out of recycled paper, dyed with waste coffee grounds, and has basil seeds.

The production phase includes a collection of discarded plastic, segregation, sanitation, and then processing ThaelyTex with the help of heat and pressure. The ThaelyTex is then shipped to the shoe factory where the further process takes place. They assemble all the shoe parts to make the final product. All these processes do not include any chemicals or toxic by-products.

Ashay Bhaave

Each pair of Thaely shoes comes with four variants with a price tag of $99 which is equivalent to INR 7000. Ashay hopes to sell 25,000 pairs of shoes by the end of this year and for the same he was pitched by the victory at the Eureka startup pitch competition in 2019 at Amity University Dubai. While Thaely is a ‘Made In India’ brand, they focus more on the international market like Dubai, Europe, and America.

Recently, Mahindra Group’s chairman Anand Mahindra has come in support of the young green entrepreneur. He wrote on Twitter, “These are the kinds of startups we need to cheer on—not just the obvious unicorns. I’m going to buy a pair today”.


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