Art + Design

Making art out of flip-flops



By Su Fen Tan

Making art out of flip-flops

It is estimated that billions of flip-flops are made everyday. In one Kenyan factory alone, over 100,000 flip-flops are churned out each day. That comes up to 3.65 million flip-flops per year—and mind you, it’s only one factory we’re talking about. Usually inexpensive and easily discarded, these flip-flops eventually end up in dumpsites and ultimately make their way into our oceans, posing a huge problem to the environment and the marine ecosystem.


The tides of the Indian Ocean wash up tonnes of flip-flops pollution onto the beaches in Kiwayu, Kenya everyday. Inspired by the toy children were making out of these flip-flops, Julie Church, the founder of Ocean Sole, started a social enterprise in 2005 that not only upcycle and produce fun, colourful sculptures from the flip-flop pollution, but also helped improve local poverty—over 900 Kenyans are now supported by the employment and collection of flip-flops.


Learn more about the incredible work behind Ocean Sole in this short yet insightful video by 60 Second Docs: