History OF THE HAT
In the 18th century, exports were booming thanks to the worldwide interest in the quality of the hat.
In the mid-19th century the craft of weaving was imposed in the province of Azuay to reactivate the economy that was suffering a major crisis. Since then, another type of hat has been made that is less fine than the famous Montecristi. But don’t worry, the Andean hat and the Montecristi hat exist!
During the construction of the Panama Canal, President Roosevelt, as well as workers and merchants of the time, acquired hats to protect themselves from the sun. It was then that the toquilla straw hat was baptized as Panama and the intermediary port was mistaken for a place of origin. The world baptizes the Ecuadorian hat “panama”.
With classic cinema, Hollywood immortalizes the Ecuadorian hat and launches the Borsalino, Stetson and Plantador models to stardom.
The era of “no-hat” arrived in the 60’s. Liberal wardrobe and imitations declined the demand for the hat. And although master weavers are increasingly scarce, the beauty of weaving is still present on renowned catwalks.
Great news came in 2012 because it was when Unesco considered recognizing the hat as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Today the toquilla straw hat is a collector’s item, a true universal jewel.
Text: Javier Ramos.