|Vintage Havaianas ad|
I popped to the shops yesterday evening and, in the 15 minutes that I was out, spotted six people wearing flip flops (including myself). Of those six pairs, five of them were Havaianas. I don’t normally scrutinise people’s footwear, but I had just interviewed Havaianas’ UK country manager Richard Shetliffe for Drapers, so I had flip flops on the brain, not least because he gave me these celebratory biscuits (Havaianas is 50 this year). Given that six pairs are sold per second – yes, every second – and that over four billion pairs have been sold since the brand launched so that, if lined up all together they would go around the Earth about 40 times, it’s not really that surprising. But Havaianas believes it can do even better and has just opened a new factory outside Rio, Richard told me during our interview. This will considerably increase capacity (Richard is in the process of getting me the exact figures). He also explained to me the different styles of Havaianas flip flops and the type of customer who wears them. The most popular in the UK used to be the Brasil – the style with the Brazilian flag on the strap and the colours of the Brazilian flag running along the sides of the sole. Of the five pairs I spotted in Primrose Hill, three were the Brasil. Now, the most popular is the style where the Havaianas logo on the strap is of a different colour to the strap itself, making the logo more prominent. This shows the power of the brand. Logos in general are out of favour in fashion, with consumers preferring subtlety of design and quality over in-your-face branding. But with Havaianas, that’s clearly not the case. Having said, the true fashionistas, opt for the Top style, says Richard, where the sole, straps and logo are the same colour. It’s also the style that Brazilians go for. I saw just the one of those in Primrose Hill and, annoyingly, it wasn’t mine.