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Panama hats take many different forms, and modern designs ensure that no matter what climate you live in, outfit you are rocking, or head shape you are working with, there’s a luxury hat to suit your needs. But, where does the versatile panama hat come from? Despite the name, it turns out that they were born in Ecuador as far back as the mid-1600s.

They began as simple, finely crafted straw hats designed to combat blistering heat, and were traded and sold throughout Ecuador. By the mid-1800s, business owners and traders soon realised that Ecuador wasn’t a hotspot for tourist activity, nor a good market to sell their wares. So they packed up their hats and hopped on a passing ship, traveling north to Panama. The bustling hotspot was ideal for tourist and local traffic, and passing traders began to show their interest and send samples to neighbouring countries.

Then, the gold rush hit California in 1849 and the panama hat trade went gangbusters; the lightweight straw hats were perfect for those passing through on their way to and from the goldfields. Their origins in Ecuador were forgotten, and the hats were forever known as Panamas. Panama hats were exported around the world in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and photographs emerged of dignitaries like President Theodore Roosevelt sporting the lightweight hats, boosting their popularity further.

Fast forward another century or so, and Kate Moss is wearing a designer panama hat on the red carpet, Brad Pitt’s glorious head is framed by a luxury hat on an exotic beach, and the panama hat is a staple of Johnny Depp’s wardrobe. There are endless colours, shapes, and designs to be found and created – yet most still hark back to the traditional inception.

Our designs are derived from the simple hats that were first created in Ecuador centuries ago, and our materials are sourced directly from Ecuador. Our gorgeous luxury hats are created with 100% traditional Toquilla straw, resulting in strong, durable custom hats. Just like panama hats were perfect for the Ecuadorian climate, our luxury hats are ideal for the Australian climate – the temperamental weather of Melbourne and Adelaide, the dry heat in Perth, and the sweet, sweet rays of Sydney.

Take a look at our current panama hats collection for some panama inspiration.

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Copyright Sarah J Curtis © 2016 Website By Smack Bang Designs

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