Plastic worn differently – Thaely Sneakers!

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‘Don’t just do it. Do it right!’- is the slogan for Ashay Bhave who started his own sneakers company at the age of 22. He has made a great attempt to start conserving the environment and has succeeded in his idea.

Being able to create affordable, ready-to wear,  and good quality shoes from reusable material Akshay Bhave has done it right! With approximately 500 pairs of shoes being sold daily. This company has received the attention of many. Each pair is hand-stitched and made of waste plastic and rubber. These recycled items go on to make amazing pairs of shoes that make you feel like you are wearing original leather.

The initial idea came through at the age of 19 and it took 2 years for the development of the fabric,  using plastic and then the prototype shoe.

The entire process is animal cruelty free and 100% vegan. The packaging of the product too is made out of recycled and organic materials. The box in which the shoes are packaged can be planted after purchase. This is not just a good idea but an amazing step towards the future.

Upon asking Ashay Bhave about his journey, below were his responses:

 At what age did the idea strike you and what was the first thing you did right after that? 

I was 19 at the time when I first started working on the idea. The first step was to have a proof concept. This made a lot of my creative juices flowing.

 Do you think Vegan shoes will be futuristic fashion? 

I think most animal derived fabric would be phased out eventually. We have developed substitutes for almost every animal derived fabric. Being vegan should be the norm going forward in order to protect, conserve and cherish these animals as well as the environment.

How do most of your customers respond when they learn about the raw materials or the origin of your product? Are they reluctant or curious about the product? 

Almost all customers are fascinated by the materials used to make our shoes. Our raw materials and recycled nature is in fact the selling point. Most people are very interested in knowing more about the production process. This creates a sense of responsibility towards the environment and we have fun interacting with our clients.

 Looking at the prices of your products, it does seem very affordable. Does the cost do justice to the product or the process and effort put into making it? 

Accessibility was a top priority for us and we tried our best to keep costs at a minimum while still being ethical and sustainable. Hence the prices not only make our customers more approachable but also happy!

 What inspired the name ‘Thaely’? 

Thaely is the Hindi word for plastic bags. It is a word that’s very familiar to people across the Indian subcontinent. We wanted Thaely to have a connection to its Indian roots despite being a global brand.   

Photo courtesy of Ashay Bhave

The obvious reason behind the creation of ‘Thaely’ is sustainability but is this going to be the only long-term focus? 

Sustainably along with materials innovation is going to be our long-term focus as this is not just a trend but a long-term solution.

Wearing or buying shoes made out of plastic waste is something that people would generally think twice about. What would be your approach or message towards these potential clients? 

We designed the Thaely Y2K Pro to function exactly like a regular shoe. In fact it’s more comfortable than most shoes. Customers may feel a bit reluctant but once they know the process and purpose of the product, they are easily drawn to it.

What inspired you to make shoes? It could have been any other product made out of plastic waste so why choose shoes

I have been a sneakerhead all my life and it is a market I know the best. I also studied footwear design at the Fashion institute of Technology in New York. 

 What are your present monthly statistics on your sales? 

We are selling around 500 shoes every month through our website. This number has exponentially grown over the months since we launched in July of 2021. 

Do you think it will meet the demands of high fashion status today? 

I don’t think Thaely can be considered high fashion. We’d like to develop a niche demand for ourselves and develop a cult like following around us.  

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