Panama straw hats from Ecuador

Panama straw hats from Ecuador

Why is the panama hat so legendary?

The Panama hat is a mark of social status. The legend of this straw hat is naturally associated with a refined style and elegance. In the early days it was custom to go to the market with a clean hat, the whiter the better. There are two types of Panama hats, one for men and one for women. Every Panama hat varies greatly in quality. This is because the expertise of the weaver, which straw is chosen and the time spent for creating the hat.

It needs the best weavers in the world to make the perfect panama hat

To make the finest straw hats in the world, there only remain a dozen weavers capable of making it. The prince of panamas has always been the ‘Montecristi’. A Panama hat by Montecristi means that Ecuadorian hat-maker experts weave the product. The hats are extremely tight woven and pattern to create the body of the hat. This is a process that can take many months. Almost every Montecristi is unique. Since the first time the Montecristi appears, the Panama has symbolized masculine elegance. Montecristi is also a small town built on the side of a desert hill and it’s near the large port of Manta.

Reputation goes back over the century

The Panama lends prestige to statesmen all over the world and is the perfect summer hat by tradition. The story of the Panama hat started by the first Spaniards. They discovered strange headgear worn by the natives. The material (made from the Toquilla plant) was light and translucent and the natives took it away for vampire skin. The year 1630 was the start of the artisanal production of the straw hat. The talented Francisco Delgado makes his entry to the story of the legendary panama. He is a gifted weaver who deserves his place in history. In 1835 the hat made a breakthrough in other countries due of Manuel Alfaro. He made his fortune in Ecuador and started a suitable line of business. He settled down in Montecristi and turned the straw hat with a single objective: export.All hats were shipped to Panama and spread to the rest of the world. From there, history was made and it’s now possible to buy the Panama hat almost anywhere in the world.

Big names

The glamour of the 1940s greatly contributed to the success of the Panama hat. Hollywood was the make- or breaker of fashions, therefore Europe looked towards America. Image and silhouette became an object of passion. The straw hat was worn by the biggest names in the industry – Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper and Orson Welles. Also artists, politicians and gangsters made the name of the Panama. Another big name as Theodore Roosevelt made the front page of the news wearing a Panama hat, as the first US president who travelled abroad. This was a great boost for the Panama hat since the pictures went all over the news.


In short, the Panama hat is legendary for many reasons. Making the hat, looking for the right material and the expertise that is required takes a lot of time. Furthermore, the story of the hat goes back years ago and has built up it’s reputation. This results in big names, artists, politicians, presidents and so on wearing the hat. Are you looking for a timeless, stylish and legendary sun hat? Then go for the Panama hat!

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