E-Issue 05 –– VCE
Fall 2022

September 5th, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

E-05++
Fall/Winter 2022-23


Artist Interview January 19th, 2023
NYC Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces

Artist Interview January 8th, 2023 
TYO Shu Yonezawa and the Art of Animation

Artist Interview December 9th, 2022
DXB Navjot Altaf Unpacks Eco-Feminism and Post-Pandemic Reality at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition December 2nd, 2022
TYO Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo

Exhibition November 11th, 2022
TYO
“Atami Blues” Brings Together UAE-Based and Japanese Artists in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX



E-Issue 04 –– IST 
Spring 2022

March 15th, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO


E-04++ 
Spring/Summer 2022


Curator Interview July 9th, 2022
IST Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS

Market Interview June 28th, 2022
HK 
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe

Exhibition June 27th, 2022
UAE
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks

Exhibition June 21st, 2022
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis

Artist Interview June 13th, 2022
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation

Artist Interview May 13th, 2022
DXB 
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Exhibition May 6th, 2022
IST
 Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”

Exhibition April 23rd, 2022
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall

Market Interview March 28th, 2022
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

E-Issue 03 –– TYO 
Fall 2021

October 1st, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo 
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

E-03++
Fall/Winter 2021-22


Exhibition Review March 14th, 2022
DXB Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?

Exhibition March 11th, 2022
DXB Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022

Artist Interview March 10th, 2022
DXB Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022

Artist Interview February 26th, 2022
TYO Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421
Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

Exhibition October 7th, 2021
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity

Market Interview October 6th, 2021
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance

Exhibition October 5th, 2021
DXB
Engage101 Presents “Connected, Collected” at Sotheby’s Dubai

E-Issue 02 –– NYC 
Spring 2021

February 21st, 2021



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City 
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

E-02++
Spring/Summer 2021


Exhibition Review August 9th, 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections

Artist Interview June 30th, 2021
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka

Exhibiton Review June 20th, 2021
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421

Exhibition June 11th, 2021
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor

Market Interview May 26th, 2021
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age

Curator Interview May 20th, 2021
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre

Artist Interview May 11th, 2021
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity

Exhibition May 9th, 2021
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London

Artist Interview April 28th, 2021
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited

Exhibition Review April 27th, 2021
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel

Artist Interview April 26th, 2021
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto

Exhibition April 16th, 2021
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy

Exhibition Review April 5th, 2021
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes

Exhibition Review April 1st, 2021
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows

Exhibition March 28th, 2021
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks 

Curator Interview March 21st, 2021
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition Review March 7th, 2021
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421

Exhibition Review March 3rd, 2021
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB
Summer 2020 

August 1st, 2020



  1. Editor’s Note 
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai 
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

E-01++
Fall/Winter 2020-21


Exhibition Review February 21st, 2021
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists    

Curator Interview January 25th, 2021
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists

Exhibition Review December 9th, 2020
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020


AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 

Exhibition Review November 21st, 2020
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue

Exhibition Review November 19th, 2020
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020

Exhibition Review November 16th, 2021
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye

Exhibition Review November 13th, 2020
DXB
Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre

Book Review October 28th, 2020
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus

Exhibition Review October 22nd, 2020
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE

Exhibition October 22nd, 2020
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ

Exhibition Review October 19th, 2020
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?

Market Interview October 14th, 2021
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers

Artist Interview September 27th, 2020
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh

Exhibition Review September 24th, 2020
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React


Curator Interview September 14th, 2020
UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community

Artist Interview September 10th, 2020
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia

Artist Interview September 7th, 2020
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear

Market Interview September 4th, 2020
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Exhibition September 1st, 2020
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi

Market Interview August 28th, 2020
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting

Artist Interview August 26th, 2020
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations

Artist Interview August 24th, 2020
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space

Artist Interview August 23rd, 2020
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Map August 16th, 2020
BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

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Mark

Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers


By Daniel H. Rey

Published on October 14th, 2020

        Done with this week’s groceries? Imagine your average plastic bags becoming your next pair of sneakers. Thaely, an up-and-coming sneaker brand conceived in Dubai is ready to enter the market with shoewear made entirely of recycled plastic.

“Thaely,” the Hindi word for ‘plastic bag’, is a passion project turned business. With its inaugural collection launching later this December in Dubai, Paris, Tokyo, and Singapore, this new sustainable brand carries a remarkable backstory. I spoke with the brand’s 22-year-old founder, CEO, and Creative Director Ashay Bhave about Thaely’s vision and the necessity for clean production processes, and what Dubai’s entrepreneurial energy can offer young-trepreneurs like him. 


Image courtesy of Thaely.

The idea for Thaely first emerged in late 2017. “I was working on new ideas for my design portfolio,” Bhave explains. It is surprising that only three years later, his rapid rise has led him to a recent feature in GQ Middle East  by collaborating with Palestinian brand Tra$hy Clothing. Chasing hype was not Bhave’s prime motivation, however. Originally Indian, he noticed a paradox with the use of plastic bags in his home country. While a country-wide ban excluded the use of plastic bags, their use was still widespread. As he puts it, “there are one trillion of these bags used every year but there is no real way to recycle them. They just end up in landfills or they are burned for electricity.”

Bhave then developed a process that recycles plastic bags but doesn’t use or produce any chemicals. “It’s a completely physical process. It uses relatively small machines that are easy to find and cheap to make,” he explains. The operation started small: Bhave made his first machine at his house. “I did this whole processing on my balcony. I had this material at the end that was entirely made of plastic bags but looked and felt like leather.”



“I did this whole processing on my balcony.”


- Ashay Bhave

Excited about the prospects of this new material, Bhave immediately thought about footwear, sneakers in particular. “I previously studied footwear design so I thought the best use for this product would be sneakers.” In the summer of 2018, he returned to India and gave his new fabric to a local shoe repair shop. All of this was happening in conjunction with Bhave’s undergraduate studies at Amity University Dubai. The designer then suddenly met a serendipitous opportunity. A start-up competition was to take place at his university. “Usually you don’t get any investment from that competition, but the prize is one year worth of office space at the university. So I made a whole business plan and pitch to go with the idea. I presented it alongside the shoe I made at the competition. I was the only participant who had a physical prototype ready.”


Headshot courtesy of Ashay Bhave, Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Thaely.


One of the judges, Matteo Boffa, a social entrepreneur and investor, had a fashion brand that made bags out of billboard material. He got interested in Bhave’s idea. The company that Boffa was working at at the time made fabric out of recycled plastic bottles. “[Boffa] was in the right field and he was interested. He gave me his card. I ended up winning the competition. I met him after and he decided to be an investor and partner in the company. He then got me three other investors.”

Equipped with the right dose of mentorship and generous funding, Bhave made another prototype at Italian Shoe Factory in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. He was also perfecting the recycling technique and made it more efficient. “The whole processing time went from 1 minute to 10-15 seconds. Everything was automated, temperature, pressure, time. I repurposed a machine by myself.” He then went to a larger factory in India, where he got more prototypes made and later negotiated production. He also set up a small production unit in Mumbai to recycle the plastic bags.



“I repurposed a machine by myself.”



Ranging from $100 to $150, Thaely’s reasonable price point speaks of the sustainable ethos driving the brand. New models are launching in December and their soles are entirely made from recycled rubber. The inside of the shoe, laces, and front parts are all recycled plastic bottles. Every other part of the shoe will come from recycled plastic bags.

Thaely is proud to be a 100% vegan sneaker brand and claims not to use any additional chemicals in its production process. “We even developed a specific vegan glue, a different type from the animal cartilage-sourced glue used by many other brands,” Bhave explains. For the designer, this stance comes from the brand’s identity. “Thaely is an all-encompassing brand that deals with sustainability. Concern for the environment is part of the overall business model, not just in the end product. Everything needs to be ethically done.”


Concern for the environment is part of the overall business model, not just in the end product.




Not only does Thaely’s production process reflect efficiency, its designs are also synonymous with simplicity. About his first sneaker, Bhave comments: “I wanted to keep it simple for the first sneaker. I always see these new eco-friendly brands that have strange designs.” The inspiration behind Thaely’s inaugural sneaker drop was basketball sneakers and skateboarding sneakers from the early 2000s, models like the popular Air Force One’s and Nike SBs. “I wanted to keep it classic,” Bhave elaborates. “A Thaely pair is something that you can match with every type of outfit, from business to casual wear. I wanted to keep it clean and minimalistic, a blank canvas for people to draw or write on.”


Image courtesy of Thaely.


Having a white canvas means that Thaely’s design possibilities are endless. Printing techniques for patterns can make any idea come to life, from deep dyes to colored soles. “The process is super customizable. Anything you can imagine can be on a sneaker.” In the future, Bhave imagines that customers will be able to customize their pair of white sneakers with different patterns and soles.



“Anything you can imagine can be on a sneaker.”



Bhave does not lack ambition for the future of Thaely. “I want Thaely to be a household name. I don’t want the brand to just be limited to shoes. I want to do clothing, bags, furniture, an entire lifestyle brand.” Bhave shares that one of his dream collaborations would be a sustainable line of furniture with IKEA. He is also open to expanding to food and beverages. “If I ever have a physical store, I want to build a vegan cafe to go with it.” When asked about who he dreams to see wearing his sneakers, Bhave replies quickly with various celebrities who have been known to promote vegan brands: Gwyneth Paltrow, Meghan Markle (“she is into sustainable sneaker culture,” the designer swiftly comments), and YG. Bhave also highlights the importance of community support in building a brand from scratch. He has a special affinity for skateboarding and BMX. “There are so many skateboarders in Dubai but there are not many sponsorships. I want to give people that chance and maybe one day sponsor skate events or pop-ups. Every opportunity I get I will involve the community. ”



“I want Thaely to be a household name.”




As every emerging designer should be, Thaely is active on social media. Launching amidst COVID-19, the designer had to be resourceful and rely even more heavily on digital marketing. Thaely was one of the designers featured in the first edition of Cyber Fashion Week, an initiative started by Tra$hy Clothing. He shared images from Thaely’s lookbook, and launched a special AR filter for the occasion.

Even though the pandemic delayed Thaely’s launch — “if not for the pandemic, we would have launched already,” Bhave hastily comments — the designer feels this is the right time. “There is more of a focus on sustainability, especially after coronavirus. The market is finally mature enough. People would rather spend a bit more but get something that is sustainable and well-made.”



“People would rather spend a bit more but get something that is sustainable and well-made.”





Images courtesy of Thaely.


Finally, Bhave praises Dubai’s role as an incubator of fresh ideas and young talents. “Because I'm in Dubai I have access to things I wouldn't normally have access to. I've gotten a lot of media attention, we’ve got two grants from the government, access to investors. You wouldn't see that happening elsewhere.” At the same time, Dubai presents its drawbacks, especially in the manufacturing industry. “I'm not manufacturing anything in Dubai. Suppliers are a big problem here. Dubai has a service-based economy, and large-scale clothing manufacturing is mainly functional here. There is a clothing industry in Dubai but all it deals with is making uniforms.”



“Because I'm in Dubai I have access to things I wouldn't normally have access to.”




Dubai nevertheless has a leg up in terms of investor relations and customer base. It may be an anomaly to have a 22-year-old get so far with his first company but Dubai’s supportive start-up ecosystem has helped Bhave’s carve out his niche product. “Some suppliers don’t take you seriously because you are not a grown-up man. But because I'm young and working on a business that is good for the environment, I've noticed a lot of people want to help me and support me even though they don't really know me.” He expands, “everybody understands the fact that I haven’t done this before. They take that into consideration and help me along the way.”

“I would say doing business is challenging at any age, but at 22 is especially hard because you are doing everything for the first time. I don't have any frame of reference. There is no handbook for doing this.”



Thaely is Dubai-based sustainable sneaker brand launching its first collection in December 2020. 
Visit Thaely’s website.
Follow Thaely on Instagram.