The name Havaianas is Portuguese for Hawaiians. The first pair of Havaianas was born in 1962, based on the traditional Japanese sandal known as the Zori, whose soles are made of rice straw. The texture of Havaianas’ rubber soles are like rice grains, one of the many details that make Havaianas unmistakable.
By 1964 practically every worker in Brazil wore Havaianas. Traveling salesmen in their vintage Volkswagen vans would take Havaianas throughout the countryside cities in Brazil and sell them directly from their vans. The vans were always greeted with excitement and Havaianas were distributed in simple plastic bags.
Havaianas are truly the original rubber flip-flops. In 1966, Havaianas’ parent company Alpargatas registered the patent of the model— “a new type of sole with a strap”.
Havaianas were traditionally only available in blue and white. However, a production error produced a batch of green Havaianas, which ended up hitting the marketplace. The reaction was so positive that Havaianas seized the opportunity and started producing brown, yellow and black pairs.
The 70’s hippie movement of love and peace and purging of your excess materials helped to move Havaianas even further as youngsters and those more political in Brazil joined the movements—wearing Havaianas of course.
Would you believe that even in the 70’s people were already trying to copy Havaianas? To reinforce the premium and authentic benefits of Havaianas flip flops, Havaianas launched the slogan “Protect yourself from phonies Havaianas – the real ones. They don’t lose their shape, don’t smell and the straps don’t come loose.”
In 1973, Havaianas innovates its communication and launches a fun, new campaign to bring the brand to life—literally. To reinforce Havaianas’ playful image, a giant sandal over 138 feet and weighing over 4 tons was created to be used in the Havaianas TV commercials. Many different celebrities were featured in the commercial “walking” over the giant Havaianas sandal.
By 1980, Havaianas officially became a fundamental part of the Brazilian lifestyle. By this time, millions of pairs of Havaianas were sold each year and Havaianas had become a basic necessity for all Brazilians. In fact, they were even listed by the Brazilian government in a list of fundamental products to control inflation, just like rice and beans.
Since the mid-1990's, Havaianas are worn by all! Between the anonymous and the famous, everyone wears them. Suddenly, Brazilians were snatching them up in multiple shades for all occasions.
Continuing its momentum in the 90’s, Havaianas launches new styles and their highly coveted printed patterns. Havaianas Floral was launched with hibiscus flowers – the first of many Havaianas prints. Collections such as Fit and Baby were created after this as well.
The 90’s were a turning point for the brand. The trend of turning the Havaianas white side downwards, leaving the colored part up, created sandals that seemed to have just one color. This was the inspiration for the launch of the Havaianas “Top” style. Initially there were only 8 different shades, now the Havaianas “Top” style is available in over 15 different colors.
Now a prized symbol for Brazil, Havaianas begins crossing over to other countries– literally packed into tourists suitcases. While some would take them home as gifts, others would bring them back to sell. And just like that, Havaianas organically began its international expansion.
The ’98 World Cup gave birth to one of Havaianas best selling and notable styles—the “Brasil”. To celebrate the ‘98 World Cup, Havaianas launched a style with a small Brazilian flag on the strap which soon became an object of desire internationally. Though the Brazilian Team lost the cup, Havaianas won big-time.
Havaianas transcends being a household staple to making its own mark in the world of high fashion. First seen on the runways of the French designer Jean Paul Gaultier show, Havaianas soon begins working with some of the biggest and greatest brands and designers from around the world.
Havaianas rapidly spreads throughout the world and begins being distributed in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, England, USA, Dominican Republic and Japan. Nowadays, Havaianas can be found in more than 60 countries.
Between the threat of the Millennium bug and anxiety for the year 2000, Havaianas created a special model to mark the occasion. It was the first sandal that glowed in the dark.
The birth of Havaianas Special Collection in 2001 further marked Havaianas' place in the world of fashion. The Special Collection sandals feature exclusive details such as crystals and metal meshes which are hand-sewn by artisans in Northeast Brazil. They are truly a unique and sophisticated collection expertly crafted by Brazilian hands.