Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd.
Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat - The Ultimate Guide

Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd. Updated Jun. 09,2022

When we talk about straw hats, the Panama hat is probably the most famous. In this article, you will know more about panama hat.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

Which country makes panama hats?Where did panama hats originated?

The Panama hat originated in the early sixteenth century, not in Panama but in Ecuador, a town called Montecristi (in the Manabi region of Ecuador), then known as the "Jipijapa", "Toquilla" or "Montecristi" hat (later Both phrases are still used today). Made from the stalks of a local grass called toquila, people here have woven the hat for generations. It was first called the Panama hat because foreign tourists saw that the workers on the Panama Canal liked to wear it.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

In 1630, the coastal provinces of Guayas and Manabi began to weave straw hats, which Francis Cordelgado modified from toquilla grass, resulting in the classic Fedora style Panama hats that are now popular all over the world.

The most classic appearance of this straw hat is: the woven hat body is matched with black ribbons, the crown is pressed with delicate ridges, and the width of the hat is 6-7cm. The fedora straw hat is plain and simple, and it won't make your eyes shine, but it can quietly bring you the elegance and handsomeness through the era.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

In 1835, the businessman Manuel Alfaro came to Montecristi, Ecuador, where he figured out how to promote and sell the hat. He brought the straw hats to Panama City and shipped them to California, USA, via Panama City. At the time of the Gold Rush in California, the Panama hat was popular with gold diggers because of its strength, breathability, light weight and good shading effect, so the trade of Panama hats developed rapidly. Alfaro is known as the "Father of the Panama Hat".

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

In 1850, Ecuador established the first railroad system, which further boosted the trade in straw hats, and in the same year, the United States purchased 220,000 Panama hats.

In 1863, 21-year-old Eloy Alfaro came to Panama and took over the hat trade of his father, Manuel Alfaro. He has since led the family business to new heights, funding the Liberal Revolution in Ecuador. After the success of the revolution, Eloy was twice elected president of Ecuador. Due to the attention of the government, many straw hat weaving factories have been opened in Ecuador. With the construction of the new railway, the development of the Panama straw hat industry has been promoted again.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

In the late 19th century, in order to meet the increasing demand for such straw hats in the United States, Ecuador also opened up the provinces of Azuai and Canal as bases to vigorously develop the straw hat weaving industry.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

At the beginning of the 20th century, due to the digging of the Panama Canal, thousands of workers needed to wear straw hats to keep out the wind and rain, so the Panama straw hats were purchased in large quantities, so that the straw hats were often sold out and became a hot commodity at that time. The digging of the canal also further promoted the Ecuadorian straw hats. The development of the weaving industry.

In 1913, US President Roosevelt attended the opening ceremony of the Panama Canal and gave a speech thanking someone for giving him the "Panama Hat", so the name "Panama Hat" was gradually called out.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

In 1944, Panama hats became Ecuador's number one export, higher than the lucrative banana trade. At the same time, the Panama hat has become well-known all over the world. Many fashion magazines and newspapers are rushing to report it. The Panama hat can also be seen in many classic Hollywood movies. Many celebrities also wear the Panama hat. A must-have for upper-class men, the Panama hat's reputation was propelled into its prime.

Sadly this traditional craft is now fading away.

What is a panama hat?

Panama straw hats are hand-woven from a kind of leaves called toquilla grass. The materials are exquisite and the production is fine. In Europe, wearing a Panama straw hat is a status symbol and is called "the best straw hat in the world".

In the Hollywood movies of the 1930s and 1940s, more and more people in the movie began to wear this hat, which became a must-have look. And the name "Panama hat" also spread. Compared with the insignificant Ecuador at the time, Panama obviously played a more important role in the promotion of this straw hat.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

Panama hat is made from toquila.Toquila is a naturally occurring grass that grows mainly in Ecuador (it can also be found in several very small areas in Peru and Colombia). This unique straw characteristic makes it lightweight and easy to weave. The breathability of the panama hat is a big reason for its popularity and popularity.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

Many other materials have been tried in order to make some machine-manufacturable alternatives to toquila straw, which can produce cheaper imitations of the panama hat, but none of them can. Has the breathability of a real Panama hat. So it is because of this particular straw that was found, which is why over 95% of Panama hats are woven and produced in Ecuador.

In the previous handmade era, only the upper class could afford to wear the top Panama hats with extremely fine weaving. The fans of Panama hats include Prince Charles, Churchill, Roosevelt, etc., as well as a lot of celebrities and other prominent customers.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

How to make a panama hat?

The production of the Panama hat starts with the collection of toquila grass, and the leaf segments of the new buds that have not yet opened are cut along the direction of the stem to expose the fibers inside, and then the fibers are separated layer by layer to obtain the raw materials for woven straw hats. To ensure the slenderness of the fibers, it must be torn by hand.

The grass fibers are then boiled in bundles in a pot for 20 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure that the leaves are fully expanded. After cooking, the bales are dried. The exposure time depends on the quality of the grass. If it happens to catch up with continuous rainy days, the construction period will be extended indefinitely, because only completely naturally dried grass can be bleached.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

The production time varies from a week to a year, and the weaving will start from the center of the top of the hat, depending on the quality of the grass seed and the density to be woven. Once the weaving is nearing the end, one craftsman completes the edge weave, a second tightens the weave, and a third trims the edges of the excess grass before being sent to a fourth to be cleaned, bleached, softened with powdered sulfur, and finalized. At this point, a genuine Panama hat has been made.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

How to choose a panama hat?

Although the material of the Panama hat is simple, it is expensive because of its exquisite craftsmanship. Panama hats can be divided into twenty grades in total, with prices ranging from tens of dollars to thousands of dollars. The denser the circle on the hat, the tighter the weave, the longer it takes, and the higher the price. The best straw hats often take more than 3 months to make.

The top Panama hats are known for their flexibility. They can be rolled into a slanted triangle-shaped cylinder like a piece of white paper, stored in a cylinder-shaped box, and then opened when worn, without deformation, and without any damage. The traces of folds, which are also one of the important features to distinguish the Panama hat.

There is a style of Panama hat that can be folded from the middle. This is a Chengde foldable style designed for travel convenience. There is a mark in the middle of the crown, which is very easy to identify.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

Some manufacturers and retailers grade weave densities, such as 1–20. These numbers may indicate the fineness of the weave of the Panama hat, but the specific meaning of the term is not clear, so it should only be used as a simple reference.

In addition to the quality of the grass and the weaving workmanship, there is also a judging criterion, the greater the number of concentric circles, the higher the quality, which can be found on the crown when facing the sun or strong light.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

However, it is too boring and boring to distinguish by numbers. Many hat brands will use fino, fino, superfino, and even ultrafino to simplify the classification.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

Fino=20 Fino Fino=25 Super Fino=30

The specific number of roots to choose depends on your own choice. The number of roots is different, and the price gap is also very large. Very fine Toquila grass takes 3-5 months to weave, so the high price is understandable.

The color of the Panama hat is generally based on the natural color, and it is also the most classic. It can be matched with any skin color and hairstyle. Others are available in bleached, black, dark, light brown and other colors.

How to wear a panama hat male and female?

Panama hats are cool, breathable, shade from the sun, elegant and stylish.

The Panama hat shows a kind of gentleman's temperament. It is suitable for both casual and formal wear. It is one of the must-have accessories for vacation travel. Paired with a formal suit to create a sense of elegant gentleman, not only many celebrity politicians like it very much, in some movies, a Panama hat is also a must for gentlemen. Furthermore, it is another fashionable style to match it with a casual single suit, jacket or T-shirt.

Everthing You Want To Know About Panama Straw Hat

European businessmen like to use it to match suits in spring and summer, celebrity politicians also wear it frequently, and the Panama hat has become a symbol of elegant men. Panama hats are used by royals as summer headwear and are often worn for sports and outdoor social events.

How to store panama hat?

Before storing the hat, the first and most important thing is to clean the hat properly, brush the dirt off the hat with a soft brush, so that the stain will not cause damage to the hat during long-term storage. Do not wash with water when cleaning, because grass fibers are not immune to water. If you clean with water, it will easily cause the hat to deform and affect the appearance.

Torquilla grass is tough and easy to bend, and if the top Panama hat is folded and placed in the hat tube, it will basically not damage the appearance of the hat.

However, long-term curling will still deform the straw hat, and the degree of deformation is inversely proportional to the fineness of the straw hat.

It is worth noting that the toughness of toquila grass is still largely affected by the climate. The origin of Ecuador has a tropical humid climate, so the fibers in the raw materials can remain moist and soft, but when imported to areas with dry climates, the fibers Both humidity and softness are greatly reduced, resulting in brittle fibers, where folds have a high risk of fiber breakage.

Therefore, laying flat in the hat box is the best way to store it. It can not only keep the hat dry and prevent the hat from being affected by excessive moisture, but also protect it from being squeezed by other stored items, Of course, after putting it in the hat box, we still need to look at the hat every once in a while and feel the humidity of the hat. If it feels too humid, please put the hat in a dry place to dry naturally, and put the hat in another dry place. save.

How to pack a panama hat in a suitcase?

For people who go out a lot, how to put the panama hat in the suitcase is a problem. It can be folded up for short trips. But for better preservation, it is best to put it in a small cardboard box.

Do you have any questions, let me know. 

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