The Craft of the Panama Hat - The Ultimate Spring Summer Accessory

The Craft of the Panama Hat - The Ultimate Spring Summer Accessory

In the realm of hat craftsmanship, few pieces rival the elegance and sophistication of the Panama hat. Each Panama hat tells a story of tradition, skill, and dedication. At Oliver Brown, we take pride in bringing you the finest Panama hats, each a testament to the rich heritage of Ecuador. Every hat is a labour of love crafted by skilled hands in the districts of Manabi and Azuay. It's a tradition passed down from ancestors, where the greatest weavers work their magic under the moonlight or overcast skies, weaving palm fibers into fabric as soft and dense as silk. At the heart of our Panama hat journey lies Majesa, our esteemed supplier run by Jenny and Mavy, a dynamic sister-daughter duo who won the Sustainability World Vision Award for Development. 

We had the privilege of visiting Majesa's intimate workshop, where we were welcomed by Mavy and their Hat Maker, Ehioze. They guided us through each step of the Panama hat-making process, from trimming to the intricate art of Blocking and Shaping. 

Ehioze demonstrated the meticulous process of blocking the Panama hood, using a large, heated steel block to shape the hat to perfection. Then, Mavi took over, showcasing the artistry of trimming the brim with curved scissors and finishing the outer trim and to perfect the size sewing the inner leather band with a vintage sewing machines. Most of the machines in the workshop are one of a kind and requiring special care and the expertise of a select few; demonstrating tradition and craftsmanship evidently in every aspect of the workshop. It is this rarity and attention to detail that make each of our Panama hats truly special. 

After showing how our Panama hats are made, Jenny the founder joined us and talked is through how she fell in love with the Panama's. It began three decades ago, amidst the picturesque villages of Cuenca, Ecuador. The beauty of the Ecuadorian mountains, the sight of Panama hats drying under the sun, and the warmth of the local communities captured Jenny's heart, igniting her passion for these exquisite creations. 

An interesting fact Jenny threw at us, The Panama hat, despite its name, has its roots deeply embedded in Ecuadorian culture. Originally crafted from the indigenous paja toquilla plant, these hats have a rich history dating back to the 16th century, time of the Incas. Yet, it was the construction of the Panama Canal that inadvertently bestowed upon these hats their famous moniker, leading to a legacy of both admiration and confusion regarding their true origin.  

We are proud to offer two distinct styles of Panama trilby hats, the Classic Panama Hat and Brisa Panama Hat. Whether you prefer the classic allure of our traditional Panama or the breezy touch of our Brisa Panama, you'll find the perfect summer choice. Our hats are lightweight yet provide full protection from the sun's harmful rays, making them the most iconic headwear choice.  

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