This week in history: the birth of The Jandal

This week in history: the birth of The Jandal

‘The bloke threw such a jandal!’

The only reason a bloke could throw a jandal (aka a tantrum), is because of  Morris Yock of Onehunga. As legend has it, before the 4 October 1957,  there was technically no jandal to throw. In 1957 Yock produced a version of the Japanese sandal in his garage and proudly named it ‘The Jandal’, and 57 years ago tomorrow he trademarked it.  New Zealanders took to Yock’s Jandal brand with such fervour, that the word ‘jandal’ has become a fully-fledged noun, part of our everyday vernacular.

While there have been many pretenders, among them flip flops and thongs, a ‘real jandal’, as a footwear savvy Evening Post reporter observed  in 1995, ‘can be spotted in a crowd of thongs by its all-rubber appearance. There are no fabric tops and squishy foam soles with built-in toe grooves on a dinkum jandals. And its colours aren’t flashy either. The traditional jandal collection comes in combinations of denim blue, light blue, grey, silver and white’. (Quoted in the Book of New Zealand Words).

As such, these jandals from our collection are just a little bit fishy! However, despite their fins, there are indeed the real deal.

Fish Jandals designed by DNA, and manufactured by Skellerup Industires, 1995. Rubber, screenprinted fabric, paint. Purchase 2009.
Fish Jandals. Designed by DNA and manufactured by Skellerup Industries, 1995. Screenprinted rubber. Purchase 2009.

These jandals were designed by DNA, and manufactured by Skellerup (who purchased Yock’s  Jandals Ltd in 1987), for a special fashion shoot for Fashion Quarterly’s Summer 1995/1996 edition. The magazine invited a range of designers to give the iconic jandal their own special twist. At the time, DNA was an up-and-coming fashion label. Established in 1994, it was the brain child of fashion designer Doris de Pont and textile designer Adrienne Foote  – Doris ‘n’ Adrienne. The jandals are printed with one of Adrienne’s distinctive designs. Adrienne was part of a new generation of designers who looked to the Pacific for inspiration and whose iconography reflected Auckland – New Zealand’s largest and most vital Polynesian city – and its beachy surrounds.

So this summer, as your put away your uggs and dust off your jandals, remember you are slipping your feet into a little bit of local history.


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