Flip-flops are no longer the preserve of the beach and summer holidays
Havaianas Flip Flops have taken the fashion industry by storm. Much to the surprise of many in the industry, they have been a runaway success. From a modest beginning in the early 1960s, this very simple footwear brand has grown very popular, with much of that growth taking place over the last few years. The brand began producing flop-flops designed for use on the beach and for lounging around at home. Early designs were relatively plain, it was the quality, comfort and affordability of this new flip-flop brand that drove sales up steadily each year.
However, sales soared when the company began to offer bold, colourful designs. Their logo range proved especially popular. Every year the company comes up with dozens of new designs.
Last year, 184 million pairs of these designer flip-flops were sold across the world. That is a staggering six pairs per second. In Brazil, where Alpargatas first launched, ninety-four out of every hundred people either have owned or still own a pair of Havaianas. The company has not yet reached that level of penetration in other countries, but they are getting there in some parts of the world.
Typically, flip-flops are still seen by many as essentially casual footwear, and that is exactly how the majority of their customers use their footwear. However, in the mid 90s, the team at Alpargatas realised that there was also a market for people who wanted to wear flip-flops they could wear in settings that are more formal. The design team worked on this concept and came up with new more sophisticated styling, transforming flip-flops into a more versatile form of footwear. Today, some celebrities have even worn them for their weddings and they are also now regularly seen on the catwalk. Famously, in conjunction with the jeweller H Stern they produced a pair of flip-flops finished in 18-carat gold and encrusted in diamonds. Unfortunately, they were a limited edition, so UK suppliers like Flip Flop and Away do not stock that particular model. However, they do stock most other versions of the, now world famous, flip-flops.