You’ll instantly love me, but let’s get to know each other a bit better first!
I am a Genuine Panama Hat, handwoven from the leaves of a unique plant known as Paja Toquilla. This Toquilla Palm is native to the coast of Ecuador, and the fibrous leaves are an essential part of my creation. (I’m vegan!)
How do you make a hat out of a plant you ask? There are four stages I go through to become beautiful.
- Treating the plant fibres to make the special straw
- Weaving the plant fibres by hand, to make the basic hat
- Blocking, using the woven material to make the shape perfect!
- Finishing and adding the selected band.
Although I will be new in your wardrobe, I’m really quite old. I date back to the 16th century, with records of the Incas making me! Fast forward a couple of centuries ... Educador has always been the sole producer of these stylish hats. However, when faced with the problem of a very small market and little to no tourists or foreign visitors, the artisans had to come up with a plan. They decided to export their hats through a bigger travel hub - Panama! - which is how I came to be called a Panama Hat!
The Paris World Fair of 1855 introduced me to Europe and the wider world, and I was enthusiastically adopted by Napoleon III of France when I was presented to him at the Fair. By the 1900s, also encouraged by English royal patronage, I had become the most sought-after and exquisite headwear in the entire world, worn by gentlemen throughout spring and summer times!
I have even been included in the 1985 100 Best Designs Ever project at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London! And my classic black band was adopted in 1901 following the death of the English Queen Victoria.
The US government ordered 50,000 'Panamas' for their soldiers sent to the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War of 1898. After that, my popularity in the USA - and the Panama name - were helped along by images of their President Theodore Roosevelt following his visit to view the Panama Canal construction in 1906 (below left - on the right right is the other President Roosevelt - FDR - in the 1940s, also wearing a Panama hat).
I am proud to come from this long history and tradition to be a La Sierra Panama Hat!
Why are La Sierra hats some of the highest quality Panamas on the planet?
- Fineness of the weave
- Evenness of the weave
- The colour of the straw
- Shaping and finishing
- Ethically made and produced
- For all year round wear
Like all Panama Hats, La Sierra Panama hats are not only breathable but also effortlessly lightweight, perfect to work with your hairstyle!
With your purchase of a La Sierra hat, you are investing in beautiful quality and the wonderful rich history behind this timeless hat!
And here are some other pics of (more or less) famous people wearing their Panama Hats today ... How many can you name?