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Panama hats - the Art of Craftsmanship

Panama hats - the Art of Craftsmanship


The Panama is the world’s best summer hat. Painstakingly woven by hand, as a single piece of wearable art, they are renowned for their fine texture, durability, lightness and ability to breath.

When the Spanish discovered Ecuador in 1531, their hats were so fine, they thought they were vampire skin - so they burned them. Those same hats, which have been hand-woven for thousands of years, became what we know today as the Panama hat.

If it is woven by hand, in Ecuador, using the straw of a Toquilla palm it is a Panama hat. Ecuador’s most famous export, came to be known as the Panama because this is the country from which they shipped their hats around the world. Much to their chagrin, the Ecuadorians are stuck with the name.

Unfinished raw Panama hats

If you look at all of the things you own in the world, it will be a very rare item that is crafted by hand. We live in a post-Industrial age, and machines make everything cheaply, quickly and exactly the same. The incredibly laborious process of weaving a panama is done entirely by hand, because there is no other way to do it. It is a craft, and only a human can do it to perfection. There are fifteen different people involved in making a genuine Panama hat - a different person to harvest, boil, strip, pound, bleach, dye, wash, weave, repair, trim, sew, block, design and pack.

When you wear a Panama hat, you are wearing something ancient and distinctly human. For hundreds of thousands of years, we have been weaving our lives, our clothes, furniture, tools and houses. The process of weaving is indelibly part of our being. A powerful aspect of our consciousness, that speaks deeply from our ancestors directly to us.

It is the art of craftsmanship that you are wearing on your head. A great legacy of our humanity. 

Read about the Art of Wearing a Hat


Panama hat history


raw Panama hat

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