Where all the Havaianas in the world come from…

Paraíba, Brazil

…they come from a single factory, located in a little place called “Campina Grande“, in Paraíba, one of the Northeastern states of Brazil!

Currently, there are more than 40 models of Havaianas and with all the colors available, that adds up to about 350 variations. It makes for any woman’s (or man’s) wildest designing dream!

Finding Havaianas in Brazil isn’t hard – since they’re available at 150,000 points of sale in the country

(I imagine right now my mother-in-law is so jealous…)

However, not every store will have all the models, since a lot of Brazilian retail is based on small stores with a limited inventory. It’s possible to find a pair of the famous flip-flop anywhere you go; even at the most remote beach village in the country – it’s guaranteed that, in the absence of a formal “store” or “market”, somebody would be selling them out of their house! And why? It seems these flip-flops are so much loved that owing one pair, just isn’t enough! It didn’t take long for Brazilians to realize that the frugal design of Traditional Havaianas was great for creative intervention.

Women customized theirs. Surfers started a trend when they removed the straps from Havaianas and put them back on with the sole side up. Tops are currently available in 20 solid colors. They, too, are popular for customizing. Brazilians use them to make Havaianas “bordadas” (embroidered) and “silkadas”, meaning, printed with silk-screen. Images say more than words: take a look at this video!

Even super-models wear them! Luckily Brazil’s got a Brazilian supermodel to showcase the flip-flops – it goes out of the stores like water! Just to top it off, the best reason to have them in your closet: Havaianas give back to the Brazilian  community (and before my husband’s visit to the factory, I had no idea about it!). They’ve done some amazing work through celebrity contributions and donations, and it feels good to buy shoes that help others…

Here are some images from the most recent visit to the Havaianas Factory, in Paraíba, May 2011. And a quick and surprising piece of information: 7 pairs of havaianas are produced per second, and the factory produces 645,000 pairs per day!! Here is where the magic happens:

And guess what my dear husband ended up forgetting to bring from his trip??