Headgear made of palm leaves is a fashion legend amongst headgears. Produced in distant, warm countries, the hats might reach sky-high prices, and while put on the head once, they don’t let you forget their quality. What makes those light, gentle and meticulously finished extra elements the object of desire for people who value the classics? Can Panama be bought in every headgear shop and how to choose the best one?
There are certain garments that proclaim style. A nice bag, great quality shoes and well-made suits are the basics of elegance. In the wardrobes of people who appreciate the fashionable smartness there’s no shortage of headgears, while in the world of hats one of the highest positions is taken by panamas – handmade only in one place in the whole world– in Ecuador. This country is gifted by nature with Carludovicapalmata – a plant that resembles a palm. The gift of nature, sometimes called ‘a palm of Panama hats’ has soft, springy and durable fibres. After proper process of picking, separating, cooking, drying and whitening (or dyeing), the leaves are ready to be woven. Ecuadorian craftsmen have handled it for hundreds of years, sharing the method of creating the material for hats, almost as smooth as velvet, from one generation to another.
When I encountered the quality of panama for the first time, I knew that this type of product will become my favourite headgear on hot, summer days. Panama is like a Chanel bag – you touch it and realise that you have the perfect product in your hands. Where does it come from? Maybe from the tradition that accompanies the manufacturing process … Maybe from the artistry and extraordinariness of weaving the fibres … Or perhaps even from the legends that surround these hats and make them so unusual and desired in the whole world?! The best Panama will not be the one that’s the most labelled but the one in which the number of weaves per 1 square metre will be the smallest. Such hats are made in Montecristi, the city where one piece can be made for up to 6 months and reach the market price of $25.000!
I haven’t reached Ecuador yet, although this journey takes one of the highest positions on my dream list. However, I started the cooperation with wonderful people whose family live in that village and deal with the production of hats for years. Last June, when we were already beginning the Summer 2016 season in Poland, my thoughts were in the next one– planning the collection of Panamas for HH. It was an extremely rainy Ecuadorian year for our hats (only 35 pieces were made). There was a risk that they would not arrive to Poland before the beginning of spring but everything was fine and successful so they were waiting for their premiere for two weeks. They were shown for the first time during a chamber meeting in the hair salon ‘Najlepiej’ on 1 April. The weather didn’t fool us and the summer hats had a chance to be presented in the beautiful sunny weather. The ladies who watched and tried them on were truly delighted!
The long-awaited moment has come – let me present the ‘Panama HatHat collection, summer 2017’. The colours in the offer include classic natural, sky blue, yellow and pink. The shape of the series is Fedora, loved by everyone – the top with a characteristic fold in the middle that suits many male and female faces. Our panamas have 4-5 weaves per 1 centimetre, which guarantees the standard, Ecuadorian quality. The sizes begin from 54 and end with 58 cm. I’m so proud that I can offer such an exceptional product. Please visit the HatHat workshop to look around, try on our hats and do some shopping. Kasia Mistewicz