The history of Panama

An incredible and timeless charm.
A misleading name.


The beginning

Panama is a small Central American Country, which has become famous for an artificial canal that allowed large boats to be able to pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, after 400 years of circumnavigations across the entire American continent.
What does this canal have with a hat?
The workers involved in the construction of this mastodontic opera used straw hats to protect themselves from the sun.
Then, in that the inauguration of the channel in 1906, American President Roosevelt showed up with one of these headdresses.
Since that moment, in the common talk, straw hats are called Panama.
To discover the true origin of Panama we have to go even further south, in Ecuador, precisely the coastal area around the town of Monte Cristi or the internal area around the town of Cuenca.
From the th century onwards entire generations have passed on to their children the art of the leaves of the Toquila palm (Carludovica Palmata), making this tradition a heritage recognized by Unesco.


The production

Leafs are micro-areas of the Ecuadorian rainforest, separated, boiled and left to dry hanging in the sun.
The leaves are bleached at pleasure through sulfide and then further paraded, always by hand, to make them as fine as possible.
The entanglement process that will create the cone of the future hat begins.
You start with the central crown and continue towards the sides, following two types of entanglement: the ′′ liso ′′, with an edited and more elegant pattern, and the ′′ brisa ′′, with diamond-shaped and more sporty pattern.
Depending on the finesse of the straw, you will have different degrees of the hat: you start from a grade 3-5 standard ′′ cuenca ′′ (about 2 working), to the ′′ Monte Cristi ′′ higher than 10 that need many months of processing.
Record is eight months!


Type and degree

Defining the exact degree of a Panama is very difficult because there are no official parameters. Let's say that you can sense the quality of a panama, through the following factors:
1) Number of crowns in the center of the hat;
2) Number of weaves per square centimeter;
3) Uniformity of straw used;

To give you a parameter, a good hat has about 300-400 weaves per 2,54 cm square (meaning 1 inch).
A superfino Monte Cristi hits 4000.


Hat care

Sometimes the panama gets dirty or effortless.
In case of some dust, we recommend passing a soft cloth on the surface.
However, the gesture must be delicate to avoid breaking the natural fibers of the hat.
In case of stains, we strongly recommend not using soaps or chemical products.
Hot water is fine. In case you don't just need one pass age, clean it several times (always delicately and with soft cloth) until the stain disappears.
If your panama has lost shape instead, we recommend using a blow dryer to heat the interested part and then gently modulate the shape until it returns to the original one.
A minimal power iron can instead be used on the tense.