Los hermanos – Garota de Ipanema  

 

After exporting bossa-nova, samba, soccer, caipirinha, beauty, and carnaval, Brazil sets a new trend that quickly spread around the world. I’m talking about the classic everyday rubbery flip-flops, found in an infinite variety of colours and styles. 

 

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The comfortable, stylish, and practical sandals, which often seem to have impossible pronunciation by foreign speakers, have a very interesting story. The original design was inspired by the japanese flip-flop sandals “Zori” , created in the sixties using rubber,  which increased its durability, comfort, while decreased the price. In 1970, the brazilian comedian Chico Anysio, was starred in a publicity campaign, nicknaming Havaianas as “The Genuine ones”, while distinguishing them from the cheap imitations produced after the sandals. 

 

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For three decades the flip-flops were only produced in two colours: black, and faded blue; both having the white colour on top. Back then you could purchase them at any supermarket for a couple bucks. They were a classic “must have” item  for everyone in the middle and lower classes. I remember we would reverse its soles, so It would look all black, or blue, as a tentative of turning it into a distinct product. Looking to prevail over a crisis caused by its sales and profit decline; in 1994, the company launches a single colour sandal: Havaianas Top. Using a good marketing campaign, the company successfully reaches the upper classes. Two years later, a new campaign rejuvenates the brand, while rates havaianas as an elegant and unique product.  

 

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At this point the sandals have reached a massive part of the brazilian market; however, the big event that puts the company’s name out there, was the french edition of the world cup, in 1998. In consequence of that, global top celebrities started being photographed wearing the product in their daily lives, as well runway fashion shows and catalogues. These days havaianas are exported to the most remote places in the world. It’s on everyone’s minds and feet. The sandals are commonly found in everyone’s wardrobe, independently of nationality, social class, or style. Havaianas is a good example of an ordinary product hyped into a must have fashion icon, having the same value around the globe. The pictures used for this post were taken on the streets of Melbourne, on a hot saturday afternoon.

 

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