Thursday 18 January 2018

50 flipping years

Rebecca Gonsalves

Come rain or shine, the Brazilian brand Havaianas has something fun and colourful to slip your feet into, says RebeccaGonsalves

It's that time of year again, when the sound of sandals flip-flopping against the soles of feet begins to build up to the crescendo of summer proper. One brand that can be held accountable for the lion's share of this pavement percussion in our daily lives is Havaianas - which celebrates 50 years this summer.

Modelled on the traditional Japanese Zori slipper, the Brazilian rubber flip flops still have the textured rice pattern on the insole of the original - which was first marketed as a "new shoe model in the shape of a slingshot".

An immediate hit with the working-class population of Brazil, the two-tone blue and white sandals were comfortable, durable and, equally importantly, affordable. An accident with a dye batch led to a batch of blue sandals coming out green and soon the company began making the same flip flop with different coloured straps. From then on colour became key to the brand's appeal both at home and abroad.

By 2000, Havaianas had a global customer base after word of the Brazilian institution spread and are now available in over 85 countries. The flip flops are still made in Brazil, the factory site responsible manufactures 206 million pairs every year, not only making it the biggest producer of such footwear in the world but also showing a commitment to both Brazilian society and the quality of the original product.

Nowadays, though, there is more to Havaianas than just sandals, after rain boots and espadrilles were introduced earlier this decade. All styles are infused with colour and spirit though, so whatever the weather, a slice of Brazilian life can be at your feet.

Independent News Service

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