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The Panama hat is definitely one of the most sought-after hats of the summer season. Lightweight, stylish and extremely trendy, Panamas represent the summer accessory for women and men, a must-have that everyone should have in their wardrobe.
The material used to make this hat is Carludovica palmata. Native to Tropical America, this straw is later woven taking the name paja-toquilla.
The threads are collected in the towns of Montecristi and Jipijapa by local artisans and later sold as weaves in the city of Cuenca. They are kept at rest, exposed to the night breeze so as to obtain the characteristic light and shaded color. The last step involves soaking in baths with natural tones that give the product the desired color.
Panama hats are made in a completely handcrafted process. This practice was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012. Depending on the type and degree of weaving given to the straw, the hat takes on different names and qualities. The finest panama weaves, such as Montecristi, can involve up to 8 months of manual labor.
Our Salento artisans process the shapeless semi-finished product from Ecuador using only water vapour and heat. Hand-rolling on wooden moulds allows the material to take on the desired shape of the head and wing.
It is handled gently throughout the process to maintain the traditional and unmistakable elasticity of Panama fibres. Prolonged air-drying enhances its lightness.