The story of Havaianas goes all the way back to early-1960s Brazil, when the zōri sandals brought by Japanese immigrants inspired the birth of the world’s first rubber flip-flops.
If you look carefully, you can still see the resemblance to rice straws in the sole pattern.
And why are these sandals called Havaianas, which is Portuguese for 'Hawaiian'? The name is simply a tribute to Hawaiians' relaxed attitude to life.
From blue and white to any colour under the sun
Originally blue and white, these sandals were soon seen on all workmen, and then salesmen started selling flip-flops from their vans to everyone, all over Brazil.
On a funny note, these soon became considered such a staple item that the government started regulating their price along with the cost of rice and beans!
As it happens, the fame of this brand is fruit of an accident: because of an error, a large batch of flip-flops ended up green.
The general public fell in love with the green right away, and the manufacturers were soon producing Havaianas in all colours of the rainbow, just as today.
Havaianas conquered the world with celebrities
By the mid-'90s, every Brazilian had at least one pair, so it was time to set sights on the rest of the world.
The company hired well-known designers, whose creations were soon seen on Brazilian TV stars, then on Parisian catwalks and in the holiday snaps of various celebrities.
The straps of the delicate Slim version were embellished with Swarovski crystals. Clearly fancy enough for parties, this crystal-encrusted footwear is, in fact, available at Helsinki Airport.
On the path from humble flip-flops to sought-after fashion accessory, the best possible marketing strategy has been to simply let people spot the Havaianas worn by various world-famous figures.
Pick up some colour and bling at the airport
Havaianas are still made in Brazil, in Campina Grande. Over 210 million pairs are made every year and exported to more than 80 countries.
At Helsinki Airport, you can find Havaianas in both ARG Airport Fashion shops, at Gates 13–14 and 29. The selection includes the new season's models with their delicious colours and a good hint of bling. The prices range from 22.90 to 44.90 euros.