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Gandys Flip Flops: How the funky footwear brand was created

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Rob knows all about feeling raw. As do his five siblings, orphaned in the Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean 10 years ago next month. His tip for the poor mother was to stay positive and to keep her son busy and surrounded with friends. "If you do that, he’ll come out of it being positive," he told her. "If you sit there mourning and moping, as hard as it may be not to, that’s going to be passed on."

On 26 December, it will be a decade since Rob first put his own advice into action. On that day, when a vast tidal wave claimed 230,000 lives across South-east Asia, the 17-year-old was battling the devastation in southern Sri Lanka to save the three youngest Forkans. His parents had vanished, a man matching his father’s description among the dead. But he knew he had to remain optimistic if he were to help what remained of his family to get home. It would be a further three months before the Sri Lankan authorities identified the bodies of his parents, Kevin and Sandra.

Even now, sitting in his new south London headquarters, surrounded by Gandys products – flip-flops in every conceivable hue, including Liberty’s famous prints – he fights for words to describe the horror. "It’s draining. And sounds robotic when I talk about it now. It was one of the worst days of our lives."

In pictures: Gandys Flip Flops

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