The True History of Panama Hat

The True History of Panama Hat

Incredibly, one of the most famous hats in the world, Panama, has no Panamanian origin. I didn’t know it myself until I visited the country’s capital and ended up in a specialized store: El Palacio del Sombrero. Well, the real cradle of the popular toquilla straw hat is in Ecuador, where the piece was already successful long before the 20th century.
Just when Ecuador was colonized by the Spanish, immigrants noticed that the native people wore straw hats and it was not long before they brought these models to Europe. To give you an idea, toquilla straw hats (found exclusively in Ecuadorian territory) were already used by Spanish nobles in the 18th century.

The True History of Panama Hat

Photo: Chic Fetti via Pinterest

After the country’s independence, in the 19th century, the hat started to be produced in the Montecristi region and the name stuck. Hat fever spread across Central America and it didn’t take long to arrive in Panama at the beginning of the last century. The export of the Ecuadorian hat to Panama City was mainly due to the construction of the Panama Canal (1904 – 1914) that attracted many engineers and workers to the region.
As many Panamanians and tourists wore the hat in Panama, the name started to become popular. However, the great success came after the then President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, visited the Canal. He was photographed with the piece and said that the model’s name was Panama Hat.

The True History of Panama Hat

Photo: Praia Bala

But this is just one of the curiosities about this hat, after all, the price variation of this model caught our attention a lot. As we count on the first vlog in Panama City, there are hats up to $ 1,200. In the video, Nicolás (salesman at El Palacio del Sombrero) explains and shows the differences between the models, but I decided to comment here also in the post 😉
The cheaper models usually have thicker fibers and less quantity, which affects both the protection of the sun and the malleability of the accessory. This is because, because it has a more open weave, the hat allows more light to enter. In addition, when the model has only one weave, it is impossible to use the piece after folding, because it is marked and deforms the original shape.

The True History of Panama Hat

Photo: Pair and Do It Yourself Spare

The 2 and 3 weft hats can now be folded to take on trips, for example. Now, if your business is luxury, there are models with up to 10 superfine threads that protect a lot from the sun and are very delicate. It’s really expensive, but I swear you can feel the difference in the touch!
That’s it, isn’t it? We discovered things that we would hardly know by chance and of course we love to share every curiosity with you!

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