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Blog/Brand Bible/Havaianas History
Widely renowned as one of the hottest names in beach and summer style, it might be something of a surprise to learn that Havaianas was founded by a Scotsman! That man was Robert Fraser, an expat living in Brazil, who saw the market for an affordable, durable footwear solution for the country’s working classes.
As well as having both Brazilian and Scottish heritage, Havaianas are also indebted to the East, and specifically Japan. It’s said that the now familiar design of the flip flop was originally inspired when company executives took a trip to the land of the rising sun and saw Geishas wearing straw-bottomed Zuri sandals.
Havaianas range of bold colourways and patterns quickly captured the imaginations of Brazilians everywhere. The style became so popular that the government began using the ever-affordable price of the flip flops as a measure of changes in the cost of living in the South American country.
The key to the brand’s success – as opposed to any old pair of flip flops – is the aerated rubber sole. This adds comfort and flexibility to what can be a particularly awkward style of footwear, and has proven to be the foundation for the company’s success. Indeed, the Havaianas manufacturing process is a heavily-guarded trade secret.
The brand was forced to constantly fend off attacks from inferior reproductions of their styles, but ultimately their superior quality and unbeatable value for money saw them emerge victorious from every battle for supremacy in the market. In the 1990s, the expanding range of colour choices and styles gradually shifted perceptions of the brand from a reliable staple to a fully fledged fashion statement.
Havaianas flip-flops are now the most popular in the world, with more than 150 million pairs being shipped and sold each and every year. This popularity has crossed over into Tinseltown too, with the brand worn and adored by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, Zac Efron and Bradley Cooper.
Perhaps the biggest single factor in the explosion of their international popularity was one that appeared at first to be a relatively innocuous change to the rubber strap. With the the 1998 World Cup on the horizon, Havaianas decided to capitalise on the swell of national pride and football fever by adding a small Brazilian flag to their signature designs. The addition proved wildly popular, and to this day Havaianas count the Brasil Logo range among their best sellers.