There’s Never Been A Pair Of 100% Australian-Made Thongs, Until Now

When it comes to Australian fashion, nothing is more iconic than a pair of thongs*.

*except this

Pluggas are a quintessential part of the national wardrobe. Nothing expresses our laconic aesthetic quite like a y-shaped strap attached to a flat rubber sole. Just slip ’em on and stroll out the door. They’re easy like a Sunday morning down Echuca Moama.

That’s why we were positively shook when we found out that there’s never been a pair of Australian-made thongs. It’s like finding out Russell Crowe is a New Zealander. It’s sacrilegious, is what it is.

Thongs Australia have just changed the game, though. They’re a fresh new business founded by three Aussie blokes who saw a ‘Strayan-shaped gap in the market and created a pair of pluggas that are functional, stylish, and above all else, 100% certified Australian made.

We sat down with co-founder Andrew Kuypers to get the low-down on how Thongs Australia came to be.

PTV: How did you find out there were no fully Australian-made thongs? Were you shocked?

AK: It all started with the name and how we thought it was unusual we were the only country in the world to refer to this style of footwear as ‘thongs’.

We then decided to look on the Australian Made website to see if there were any brands or manufacturers within the category. Following some more chats with the team at Australian Made, who are massive supporters of ours, we quickly discovered no pair of thongs carried their logo.

How long have you been around for?

The idea was conceived over two years ago, but finding an Australian based manufacturer willing and able to work with us was difficult. It took us over 12 months to find. However, their area of expertise was in product development for mining equipment and medical apparatus.

In effect, we needed to combine these two approaches to somehow create experts in footwear. Then came over 12 months of trial and error, over 30 different design samples were created before we landed on the right compound that optimised durability and comfort, but also looked smooth and sleek.

Where are your thongs made in Australia?

Melbourne’s Inner North. We’re keeping exactly where top secret for now.

Obviously big businesses (like Kmart and Target, for example) sell these sorts of products for next to nothing. Do you see an issue with this?

Like all industries, there is exists a wide range of products providing varying levels of quality.

We felt no one was fully invested into created a premium thong that was best in class when it came to durability and comfort. There was also the issue of the much feared ‘blow out,’ which we wanted to try and overcome.

Being made in Australia we have been able to closely manage the design and development process to ensure all quality objectives were achieved. The result is a higher priced product, but we like to think you get what you pay for.

Can you tell us more about how the tread is inspired by Aussie architecture?

We wanted our tread pattern to be unique and represent a contemporary link with Australia.

There is a corner located in Melbourne nearby the RMIT Design Hub and behind this sits the William Barrett building. Once you stand there and look up and these two contrasting building, you’ll see where the inspiration came from.

Is it possible to “bust a plugga” wearing a pair of your thongs?

It’s very unlikely and this is something we’ve worked very hard at trying to overcome. We know how annoying this can be! We’ve actually found the existing designs have great merit in addressing this problem, but as other brands use synthetic and are often of poor quality, the strap can easily pull through the sole.

We’ve found by using quality materials such as natural rubber in the sole and strap, the chances of the dreaded ‘blow out’ have significantly reduced. So much so, we have just commissioned a Melbourne Uni to validate this through a series of tests versus our competitors. We’ll know exactly how we stack up when we get these results.

Will you be debuting any other colours in the future or are you dedicated to the all-black aesthetic?

In time, but initially we didn’t want to distract ourselves with different designs and colours. Instead, we wanted to focus purely on developing the best quality thong in the market. If Aussies like what we have to offer them, the future will be bright… and colourful!

Taking an Australian icon and bringing it back home? Now that’s something to Waltzing Matilda to.

You can check out the range here.