It’s hard to believe these glamorous earrings are made from flip flops! These flip flop earrings have an incredible story. Each year thousands of sandals wash up on the shores of Mali in West Africa. Local upcyclers have found a way to utilize the waste. Read on for a great trash to treasure story.
The Bozo people are a Mali tribe that live along the Niger River in West Africa. The tribe used to survive off of fishing. However a sharp decline in fish threatened their livelihood. As the river’s fish stock declined, an increasing amount of flip flops started floating down stream. The resourceful Bozo women found a clever way to turn the disaster around.
They take the flip flops, clean them, arrange them by colour and melt them into strands. These rubber strands are then coiled around metal rods and melted again. This makes a rubber rope which the women turn into bracelets. They sell these bracelets locally and also send them around the world.
There were initially only a small handful of families making these flip flop bracelets in Mali. Now, more than 80 families live off these upcycled treasures.
Our friend Robyn Lidsky of RUBY South Africa buys these fair trade rubber strands to make earring hoops. On our recent stay in Cape Town she came up with this gorgeous design.
The upcycled earrings are hand coiled at RUBY using a traditional technique from Malawi.
These stunning earrings come in 8 different colours.
Which is your favourite pair of flip flop earrings?
These gorgeous upcycled earrings are completely pan African. We are thrilled to feature them as part of our Cape Town collection!
Shop the look and enjoy free international shipping!
Special thanks to our dear friend Catherine Andersen for being the most exquisite model.