Chat About Hats

We are a small, single outlet business. 

The majority of our products are ordered from overseas 6-8 months prior to delivery and are manufactured based on orders.  Even our NZ based suppliers, in many instances, rely on components from overseas that they have to order months in advance too.  Most of our suppliers carry very little, if any extra stock.

Covid-19 is still causing challenges for us; cancelled production, delayed, damaged shipments, massive increases is shipping costs and a raft of other things beyond our control. 

So, if we don't have what you want or can't get it - please be kind, we're trying.

What is a Panama Hat?

A Panama hat is a traditional brimmed straw hat from Ecuador. They are made of Toquilla straw which is indigenous to South America.

In the 1800s workers on the Panama Canal wore these hats to protect themselves from the sun and heat. Travelers and merchants who purchased the hats in Panama were invariably asked where “did you get your hat” to which the answer was Panama so these hats came to be known as “Panamas”

The traditional weaving of hats in Ecuador dates back to as early as 500-1500 BC. UNESCO has added the art of weaving a Panama hat in Ecuador to their list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Panama hats can take from a few hours to a few months to make. The finest of them can contain around 3000 weaves per square inch – a hat like that will set you back around USD25000.

Genuine Panama hats meet these criteria: Hand crafted in Ecuador and made from Toquilla palm straw. 

A true Panama hat is a handmade work of art and no two hats are identical.   Imperfections in colour, weave and finish are the result of nature or the artisan's hand and is part of what makes these hats unique. Contrary to popular belief, most styles of authentic Toquilla straw Panama hats should never be rolled. Most Panama hat makers do not recommend rolling and consider it a bit of a gimmick. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.  

Check out this very informative video.

Unesco Video on making of Panama hats

Tell me about Quinde Handicrafts from Ecuador?

"Quinde Handicrafts is a local family store. We are a brother, a sister and a brother-in-law pursuing the dream of transcending distances through a responsible and inclusive trade. As a family, we negotiate with families, we establish alliances with fathers, mothers, young entrepreneurs and community associations of artisans.

We encourage the creation of sustainable sources of income for Ecuadorian artisans, while honoring a heritage enriched with tradition.

Quinde Handicrafts had its first steps done late 2019, when we import our first collection of toquilla straw hats from Montecristi, Ecuador. Although these well-known hats are called Panama Hats, what not everybody knows is the fact that they are made entirely in Ecuador by the hands of expert artisans. This is the tradition we aim to resurge and keep for the next generations, as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity."

Tell me about French Berets

Since 1840 Laulhere have been making the quintessential French Beret.  Learn all about it here...

History of Laulhere