HAVAIANAS’ 50th anniversary

Published:  06 June, 2012

- A quick stroll through the world of Havaianas - Keep reading to embark on a journey through 50 years of Havaianas history. On the way, imagine yourself laughing, having fun and feeling a summer breeze on your skin. Feel great? That’s the essence of Havaianas. This year, the brand that brought summer shine and positive thinking to one and all turns 50. And life is good!

Havaianas represents a new way to walk through life on a colourful tide of Brazilian spirit and good vibes, looking at life like a real Carioca. The first ones – the real ones!

In 1962, while the world was busy with more ‘serious’ matters, the least serious shoe out there was born in Brazil: Havaianas, the original, 100% rubber flip-flop. Modelled on the Japanese Zori slipper, Havaianas insoles still have a textured rice pattern today. A revolution began on Brazilian feet which would later change the way the whole world walked…

The new sandals were patented as "a new shoe model in the shape of a slingshot" and named Havaianas in honour of the Hawaiian pleasure-centred approach to life: a brand name that conveys the brand’s essence.

Havaianas were an immediate hit with Brazil’s working class, for whom the two-toned blue and white flip-flops with matching blue straps were comfortable, durable and affordable. The people’s shoe was born.

Like many of humanity’s great inventions, Havaianas evolved…by accident! A whole batch of flip-flops intended to be the brand’s traditional blue, came out green due to a technical mishap. A potential disaster ended up launching a new era. The new colour was such a success that the company began making the same flip-flop with different coloured straps in yellow, green, red and black. From then on, colour became key for Havaianas customers.

By the 1970s, Havaianas were on the feet – and in the hearts – of thousands of Brazilians. The first imitations appeared, sparking the famous Havaianas slogan: "Havaianas, the real ones". The short but profound epithet became legendary, along with the tagline: "they don’t lose their shape, don’t smell and the straps don’t get loose", made popular by the much-loved, great Brazilian comedian Chico Anysio.

Ten years later, with just four colours and one model available, Havaianas were more popular than ever among modest-income Brazilians, achieving best-seller status despite being sold in non-descript places, in plastic bags next to cleaning products. The famous flip-flop was so well-rooted in Brazilian society that the government declared it a basic necessity and began monitoring their cost along with other products like rice in order to control inflation. Brazilians can do without certain things, but not their Havaianas!

In the 1990s, with every modest Brazilian wearing Havaianas, the brand’s next challenge was to woo the middle-class market.

In the process, two interesting discoveries helped breathe new life into the brand:

1- Havaianas fans, looking for ways to make their flip-flops stand out, began turning their shoes white side downwards, leaving the coloured side up. The idea became such a hot trend that in 1994, the brand released its ‘Top’ collection, a first product line extension 32 years in the making! A rainbow of new colours was on the horizon

2- Also important, the company noticed that despite its ‘ordinary’ style and fan base, certain segments of Brazilian high society liked the famous flip-flops and wore them at home as a symbol of authenticity far removed from the pretentious attitude of high-end labels.

Havaianas, the honest, authentic, sincere brand, went from uncool to cool. Not just a rubber flip-flop, Havaianas became a symbol of casual, upbeat, creative and fun living.

Also in the 90s, AlmapBBDO began handling the company’s advertising. The agency’s campaigns – customer-centred, irreverent and one-of-a-kind – established the brand’s current identity, based on colour, good vibes, art and optimism, and the new tagline, "Havaianas. Everyone wears them", which gave the brand access to international markets.

Like any self-respecting Carioca, Havaianas loves football. In 1998, the brand supported Brazil in the World Cup by launching a new line of flip-flops with a small Brazilian flag on the strap. Huge hopes weren’t enough to bring Brazil a first place victory, but the huge success of the new shoe led to the Havaianas Brasil collection, one of the most popular today.

By 2000, Havaianas had gone global. Sales points opened in Hawaii, Australia, France, the Philippines and elsewhere after visitors to Brazil fell in love with the brand and filled their suitcases with their favourite pairs.

Havaianas opened offices in the US (2007) and Europe (2008) to take the essence of the Brazilian shoe to new levels. Today, the company sells a more fun and colourful way to walk in over 85 countries.

Conquering Europe!

Havaianas went across the Atlantic to conquer European hearts by selling its products at the best locations around, boosting its presence in European fashion monthlies, opening Havaianas shops in various countries and appearing on blogs, web sites and video sharing platforms with crazy and surprising video content and photography produced in different European capitals.

Havaianas had hit Europe, and was spreading the fun to the four corners of the continent!

In 2010, two major initiatives launched by Havaianas Europe marked a milestone in the brand’s online presence:

1. The opening of the Havaianas e-shop, the only location in Europe offering the complete range of Havaianas products 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A true delight for European brand lovers!

2. The brand’s presence on social networking sites. An official European Facebook fan page, Twitter account, Havaianas always summer blog, Havaianas YouTube channel and Flickr account allowed daily interaction with customers to promote the brand’s Always Summer attitude.

The same year, also in Europe, Havaianas launched a completely new product range, the first in its history: the SOUL COLLECTION. The new line of footwear offers a surprising ‘Made in Havaianas’ mix of colour and cheer with the signature comfort and originality of Havaianas flip-flops.

What makes the collection innovative? The soles! A new range of espadrilles, trainers and ballerinas fitted with the mythical Havaianas rubber insole to ensure comfort, flexibility, softness and durability – the soul in the sole of the new collection.

Further proof that Havaianas are unique appeared in 2011 with the launch of the RAIN BOOTS collection. Only Havaianas can fill grey, rainy days with fun, colour and Brazilian spirit!

The creative flair and versatility of the Havaianas brand go lengths to create and support events that enrich its identity and presence. The company’s diverse range of special partnerships in recent years is one example. The most famous name in flip-flops painted the Oscars in its bright, Brazilian colours by making an exclusive model for every nominee. The brand has also released limited edition collections designed by fashion houses and designers such as Celine (2004), H. Stern (2004), Paul&Joe (2010), Marimekko (2010), Pinel&Pinel (2010) and Missoni (2011).

Havaianas always has its customers at heart. MYOH – Make Your Own Havaianas – is an initiative aimed at thanking them for the support and input that has helped and shaped the brand throughout its development. Havaianas launched a complete collection of separate soles and straps, pins and Swarovski crystals that ‘Havaianicos’ can mix and match to create their own unique pair. The possibilities are endless! The ultimate expression of Havaianas identity, MYOH turns customers into designers, and flip-flops into a personal art


Today, Havaianas are the must-have shoe of both the fashion world, where international celebrities are snapped wearing the flip-flops, and in humble areas – Brazil’s favelas, for example – where adults and children alike continue the Havaianas tradition begun in 1962.

Havaianas are clearly a step ahead of the rest. They’re so special, they make hands jealous of the feet that get to enjoy such a soft, light-weight, fresh and comfortable sandal. With so many colours and models available, Havaianas have made simplicity stylish.

A product that represents Brazilian values this well can only be made in Brazil! Every year, the same site in Campina Grande in north-east Brazil manufactures over 206 million pairs of Havaianas, making it the biggest flip-flop factory in the world. Only here can the heart of every Havaiana shoe beat to the rhythm of samba.

Yes, it would cost much less to make our shoes in other countries, but Havaianas’ commitment to Brazilian society runs deeper. Our factories, where cutting-edge technology meets the best in traditional craftsmanship, guarantee excellent quality and the best standards of safety for our customers. This level of excellence gives our flip-flop the qualities that made Havaiana products legendary: no sweat, no slipping, no smell, no heat transfer, resistance, softness and comfort – in a wide range of colours and designs!

The Havaianas team recognizes that no sandal has been more loved, has travelled more roads, visited more cities and natural sites than its beloved flip-flop, and would like to give its customers and the planet some of that same generosity in return.

In line with its commitment to sustainable production, Havaianas is actively pursuing social responsibility initiatives together with two organisations:


IPE (Institute for Ecological Research), a non-profit organisation for the protection of Amazon eco-systems;


Conservation International Brazil, a non-profit organisation aimed at protecting seabed and marine biodiversity for the benefit of humanity.

The only thing missing was a place where customers could find the entire Havaianas product mix and experience. In 2008 the brand opened its Havaianas Space, a 300 square-

metre flagship location in the upscale Oscar Freire area of São Paulo. The store sells every collection available and, from wall to wall, reflects the brand’s true essence.

Havaianas took it first big step onto the old continent in March 2010 with the opening of its first European store in Barcelona. It later opened stores in Rome, Paris, London and Valencia

And here we are: 2012. For its 50th Anniversary, Havaianas launches a very special limited edition. Inspired by the mythical ´flip over´ that took place in the 90s when Havaianas fans swapped their Havaianas for single colour Havaianas, becoming this new style the brand’s biggest turnaround! The company will produce 50.000 units of this exclusive edition, where 100% of the net sales will be donated to UNICEF in support of a project in Brazil.

Havaianas takes pride in turning 50 and in sharing its philosophy and authenticity with so many people. Younger and more determined than ever to explore new paths, Havaianas will promote Brazilian Spirit in every corner of the globe. This is just the beginning of a colourful and surprising feel-good journey. Care to come along?

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