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.
Do you only sell hats for men?
Girls can wear any hat. We have a very limited selection of women specific hats, the rest of our hat's are unisex. In fact the Fedora, typically thought of as a men's hat first appeared in an 1882 production of a play called "Fedora." It was worn by the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt in the title role of Princess Fedora Romanoff. It was not until the 1920's that the hat was also adopted by men.
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