An Afternoon In The Liberty London Archive With Gandys Flip Flop Brothers

26 January 2014 by

On Friday we joined the charming Forkan brothers, Rob and Paul, of Gandys Flip Flop to leaf through the bulging print archives at Liberty London; they had to choose three prints for their Liberty collaboration that launches this summer. And we were oh-so glad to help.

Choices, choices... Would it be the hilariously named 'Tom Daley' navy floral with a white strap (this was one of our faves)? Paisley with neon straps or the ubiquitous oversized floral prints? Feathers or tiny camo-like floral prints in glorious technicolour? Questions percolated: how classic to go? And then, how unexpected? Reems of intricately patterned samples hung around the room and dazzled the boys (and us) whilst they pored over the books, musing over the best print for their unique wrap-around flip flop (the print runs down the sides of the sandal, for maximum pattern punch).

The story behind the brand is as inspiring as it is tragic, having lost their parents in the 2004 Tsunami in Sri Lanka at just 13 and 11, on a year out travelling as a family with their two younger siblings in tow (they had been living and volunteering in India having sold their family home and most of their belongings before making the trip). After hitchiking home and being greeted with huge love and family support, the brothers were determined to dedicate their lives to the global issues their parents had raised whilst travelling. They searched for a project that would help less fortunate orphans around the world and when Rob woke up at a festival with 'a mouth like Gandhi's flip flop', their new venture was born.

Having taken Selfridges, ASOS, House of Fraser and Topman by storm they're now plotting their Liberty print collaboration - three pairs, to launch this Spring. We look forward to seeing what the boys come up with and in the meantime enjoyed our foray into the archives - we may also have been dreaming of how exactly to turn that psychedelic paisley into a prized pillow but obviously didn't mention that.

Fun fact: Liberty's archives dates back to 1871 and hold over 45,000 prints. No wonder they sort of know what they're doing...


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