Dispite its name, the Panama Hat has always been made in Ecuador until today. Back in the 1835 an Ecuadorian business man noticed that Panama was a very busy country full of travelers and sailors. He decided to establish a shop abroad to achieve greater sales volumes. Customers will tell people who admire their hats that they bought them in Panama, so they quickly became known as “Panama hats”.
Panama hats are made of a straw that comes from the toquilla palm leaf that grows in the coastal lowlands of Ecuador. The palms are shredded into fiber straws, sun dried, woven entirely by hand, trimmed and then shaped into a hat. Master weavers of the town of Montecristis use very thin straws to obtain a sharp and tight weave that results into what is considered the finest hat made in the world.