Handwoven in Ecuador & finished in Spain
I’ve been pursuing the Holy Grail in Panama hats for 30 years. Panamas have the reputation that they can be rolled up and packed away for travel. They also have the reputation as a finished fedora that is classic and grand-a stylish, hand-woven natural straw. This has posed a dilemma for hat merchants. More often than I can count, I’ve explained to customers that these two qualities are not embodied in the same hat. The buyer needs to choose a Panama that can suit one of these purposes or the other. [Read my article Letter to Monticristi Hat Customers for more on this.] However, I’ve never been fully satisfied with my explanation, i.e. that these “two different hats” were forever to be mutually exclusive. For decades, I’ve been trying to find a hat maker who can solve the puzzle of a snappy, high-quality finished fedora (that holds its shape) being embodied in the same hat that can be rolled for purposes of travel or storage.
It was a small town in Catalonia that I had my Eureka moment. All credit goes to Jose Signes. A “Panama” is a hat woven from a particular straw material (Carloduvica palmata) found in western South America. However – and this is important – the weaves differ from one region to another as well as the preparation of the material. The finest hats are often associated with Manabi Province in Ecuador (for example, many know the Panama hat reputation of Monticristi, a town in the province). The finest roll-able Panama hat is almost always one of these 20-grade hats that has not been blocked, sized, and finished. However, when one blocks, stiffens and finishes the hat, the natural properties of the material change and the hat, then, does not lend itself to the same material properties. Without divulging Signes’ trade secrets (or getting too technical), suffice to say that these Panama hat bodies come from another region of Ecuador. The material is prepared differently, and the weaving pattern is different. The quality is, nevertheless, superb. [See my article on Determining Panama Hat Quality for more on this]. Signes takes this unfinished Panama hat body and works its magic.
We now have it. Both hats in one.
Approx. 4" center dent crown
Approx. 2 3/8" snap brim
Made of: 100% Panama straw
Grosgrain ribbon hatband
Unlined for maximum breathability