Havaianas were created in Brazil in1962. Inspired by the Japanese Zori sandal, and made of quality Brazilian rubber, the texture of Havaianas rubber soles are like rice grains, one of the many design details that make Havaianas unique.
Initially called “palmilhas com forquilha” (soles with forked straps), they were christened with the name Havaianas (“Hawaiians” in Portuguese) in honour of Hawaii - the popular holiday destination that had the glamour and summer vibe the brand wanted to give its new product.
By 1964 practically every worker in Brazil wore a pair of Havaianas. Traveling salesmen would sell Havaianas directly from their vintage Volkswagen combi vans throughout the countryside cities in Brazil. Distributed in simple plastic bags, the vans were always greeted with excitement.
Havaianas are truly the original rubber thong. 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 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 benefits of Havaianas thongs, an advertising campaign featuring 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” was launched.
To reinforce Havaianas playful image, Havaianas launched a fun, new campaign to bring the brand to life — literally. A giant thong over 138 feet and weighing over 4 tonnes was created and used in Havaianas TV commercials. The commercials featured celebrities “walking” over the giant Havaianas thong.
Havaianas officially became a fundamental part of Brazilians lives. Millions of pairs of Havaianas were sold each year and Havaianas became a basic item for all Brazilians. So much so, the Brazilian government included them in a list of fundamental products to control inflation, just like rice and beans.
Havaianas are worn by all! Between the anonymous and the famous, everyone was buying and wearing Havaianas - in multiple colours and all occasions.
Continuing its momentum in the 90’s, Havaianas launches new styles and their highly coveted printed styles.
Havaianas Floral was launched with hibiscus flowers – the first of many printed Havaianas.
Collections such as “Fit” and “Baby” were also launched.
The 90’s were a turning point for the brand. The trend of turning the Havaianas white side downwards, leaving the coloured sole part up, created sandals that seemed to have just one colour. This was the inspiration for the launch of the Havaianas “Top” style.
Originally only available in 8 different colours, Havaianas “Top” style is now available in over 15 different shades.
To celebrate the ’98 World Cup Havaianas launched the “Brasil” - a style with a small Brazilian flag on the strap. Though the Brazilian Team lost the cup, it’s still one of Havaianas best selling and notable styles globally.
This same year marked Havaianas organic international expansion – literally packed into tourists suitcases as gifts or to sell.
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 official distribution begins in Australia, 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 style to mark the occasion - the first ever thong that glowed in the dark.
The birth of Havaianas Special Collection further marked Havaianas place in the world of high end fashion. The Special Collection Havaianas feature exclusive details such as crystals and metal meshes which are hand-sewn by artisans in Northeast Brazilian. They are truly a unique and sophisticated collection expertly hand crafted.
The Havaianas phenomenon spreads to the Philippines as well! Once something just for the beach, Havaianas soon becomes a symbol for fun, fashion and casual style in this island country.
And the Oscar goes to… Havaianas, which begins gifting the world’s most prestigious award show in the world by offering a pair to the nominees as a gift. There’s nothing better than slipping on a pair of Havaianas after a night in high heels or uncomfortable shoes!
Havaianas starts surfing in the Indian Ocean!. Initially available at the Mauritius islands, today, they can be found at any resort in the Seychelles, Mayotte and Maldives.
Havaianas starts a partnership with the Brazilian ecologic research institute, IPÊ whose mission is to help the conservation of species in Brazil’s natural environmental – many of which are endangered, such as the Black-Faced Lion Tamarin, the Maned Wolf and the Blue Macaw. Havaianas donates 7% of the sales of custom thongs directly to IPÊ.
In 2004, Havaianas partnered with the famous Brazilian jeweller, H.Stern to create a special edition style with 18K-gold finish and diamonds.
Casual Fridays take on a new meaning in Brazi! Students from traditional schools in São Paulo protest for the right to wear Havaianas to class. In fact, some offices even instituted Friday’s as “Havaianas Day”.
Arriving on the scene for the first time is the Havaianas “Slim” style. With a thinner and more delicate strap, women everywhere immediately fall in love with this timeless style.
In Australia, Havaianas breaks a record and enters the Guinness Book for the first time. Thousands gather on beaches around the country forming rafts in the shape of Havaianas thongs, creating the longest line of its kind in the world. The funds raised from the challenge are donated to social projects.
Havaianas launches in Taiwan and while the people there find it impossible to pronounce Havaianas, it doesn’t matter—they understood it all when they slipped them on for the first time.
Havaianas officially launches in the US and permanently opens an office in Soho, NY.
Havaianas opens its headquarters in Spain. Today, it also has offices in Portugal, France, England and Italy.
Havaianas opens a Concept Shop Space in São Paulo’s most infamous shopping destination, Oscar Freire Street. Themed after a Brazilian Mercado market stand, the Flagship Store carries the entire collection of Havaianas as well as exclusive styles.
Havaianas partners with Conservation International to help support conservation projects in the Abrolhos archipelago. To bring the partnership to life, Havaianas creates special flip flops with 7% of the sales donated to the organization.
While Brazilians can wear Havaianas all year round, others aren’t as fortunate. With that in mind, Europe launches the Havaianas Soul Collection – a range of casual sneakers and espadrilles with the traditional and much loved “Havaianas soul” incorporated into the sole of the shoes.
Havaianas partners with the high-end Italian fashion brand Missoni to create a limited edition collection of thongs and an espadrille. The partnership is highly successful and the collection immediately sells out.
Havaianas launches a magical new fashion collection with Disney with exclusive models featuring beloved Disney characters.
In 2012, Havaianas celebrates its 50th birthday! A commemorative limited edition style was created, with proceeds from sales of this style donated to UNICEF.
Havaianas innovation continues, with the launch of Flat styles, referred to by Brazilians as "Rasteirinhas".
Rainy days became more colourful with the arrival of Havaianas Rain Boots, made of the same premium Brazilian rubber used to create its thongs.
Havaianas launches its first clothing collection.
Havaianas who started its story on the feet of Brazilians now comes to everyone's head. Our first collection of sunglasses is launched.