August 31, 2021 1 min read

The original Panama hat is the one that is woven in Ecuador with "toquilla straw", produced in the western region of Manabi from the leaves of the dwarf palm Carludovica palmata, commonly known as "Palma toquilla".

The processing of "toquilla straw" is ancient and laborious. To obtain it, the leaves are divided into filaments which are first immersed in boiling water and then hung to dry, until they take the form of wavy "strings".

The "strings" are then sent to the artisans of various villages and towns in the interior, including Jipijapa, Cuenca, Montecristi, Pile and Tavalo, who select them based on  quality and fineness, separate them from each other and after having moistened, they weave them by hand to create the hats, using a wooden base for shape and size.

An expert craftsman takes about  4/6 hours to make a Panama  and every day more or less 40 are produced.

The quality of the hat depends on the  "fineness" of the fibers and the weave, according to which we speak of Panama Quito, Brisa, Cuenca and Montecristi. Some also propose a division into sub fine, fine, super fine and fine fine, but these are non-standardized measures.

Enter Panama hatters