Havaianas were created in Brazil in 1962 and inspired by the Japanese Zori sandal; a sandal with cloth straps and woven rice straw soles. Havaianas replaced the straw with premium Brazilian rubber, updated the design to look fashionable, and the rest is history! This is why the soles of Havaianas feature a rice grain print; one of the many design details that make Havaianas unique.
Our thongs were christened with the name Havaianas (which means “Hawaiians” in Portuguese) in honour of the glamourous holiday destination with endless summer vibes.
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 Brazil. The vans were always greeted with excitement!
Havaianas invented the original rubber thong and here’s our proof! In 1966, Havaianas’ parent company, Alpargatas, registered the patent of our now world famous rubber thong!
At first, Havaianas were only available in blue and white. But in 1969, 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 more colours; brown, yellow and black thongs!
People have been trying to copy Havaianas for decades. In the 70’s Havaianas launched an advertising campaign to reinforce the premium benefits of Havaianas thongs. The slogan read ‘Protect yourself from phonies’.
Havaianas was officially recognised as an intrinsic part of Brazilians lives by the Brazilian Government after they were included on a list of fundamental products (alongside rice and beans!) to control inflation. By this point, millions of pairs of Havaianas were being sold each year in Brazil.
Early - Mid 1990's
Did you know that a trend started where people flipped the white soles of their Havi’s upside down to create thongs of a single colour?
After observing this trend, Havaianas introduced single coloured styles and launched their first ever printed style featuring a hibiscus flower.
Many more printed designs continued to be released with new colour ways and new product developments (e.g. baby designs!).
To celebrate the ’98 World Cup Havaianas launched “Havaianas Brazil” – a style with a small Brazilian flag on the strap. Although the Brazilian team lost the Cup, it’s still one of Havaianas best-selling styles globally.
Havaianas transcends into the world of high fashion after making a runway debut in French designer, Jean Paul Gaultier’s show. Havaianas soon after 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 100 countries.
As a light hearted nod to concern over the Millennium Bug, Havaianas released the first ever glow in the dark thongs!
Havaianas further develops the range by releasing a special collection of thongs with fine details, such as crystals and metal meshes, which are still to this day hand-sewn by artisans in Northeast Brazil.
Enter the Havaianas Slim style! With a thinner and more delicate strap, women everywhere immediately fell in love with this timeless style.
In Australia, Havaianas enters the Guinness World Record Books for the first time for the most amount of people floating in a line (on our famous thong lilos!). Over 2,000 people gathered on Cottesloe Beach (Western Australia) to claim the record and raise funds for beach-side social projects. We still hold the record to this day!
Havaianas launched a magical new partnership with Disney, featuring everyone’s favourite Disney characters on the sole of thongs.
Havaianas celebrated its 50th birthday! We produced a commemorative limited-edition style with proceeds from sales donated to UNICEF.
In 2018, Havaianas made its runway debut at New York Fashion Week! Following the resurgence in popularity of Havaianas amongst influencers and editors attending fashion shows throughout Europe, luxury Australian designer Dion Lee sent models down his runway in Havaianas as he presented his Spring 19 Collection in Soho.
Havaianas collaborate with French Luxury powerhouse, Saint Laurent, for a limited-edition release of co-branded thongs.
In 2020, Havaianas in partnership with Minus18, celebrated Pride on Valentine’s Day with a physical display of love for the LGBTQIA+ community by transforming Sydney’s iconic Icebergs Pool into a 50 metre, eight stripe, rainbow flag.
In 2021, Havaianas collaborated with Australian artist, Cj Hendry ahead of her “STRAYA” exhibition in Brisbane this weekend (21 – 23 May 2021). Paying homage to Aussie slang used down under, together with Cj Hendry we installed a street sign on Noosa Main Beach yesterday bearing commonly used wording “PLUGGERS” (the equivalent of “thongs, or flip flops”). To celebrate we gifted 500 exclusive pairs of Top White Havaianas that feature an exclusive “STRAYA” pin embellishment designed by CJ Hendry.
Havaianas collaborates with Japanese streetwear masters BAPE®. To celebrate the launch of the BAPE® collection, we hit the streets of Melbourne, dropping clues to our location throughout the city. The BAPE® x Havaianas truck was the only place in Australia that you could buy the Top BAPE® Green Havaianas.
What’s next for Havaianas you ask? Watch this space for more brand news & exciting new product developments!