Genuine Panama hats are only made in Ecuador - originally made to protect workers on the Panama Canal.
Elegancia Tropical Hats is an Ecuadorean manufacturer and wholesaler of genuine Panama Hats with over 25 years of experience. For a long time, we worked to preserve the traditional designs and history of our craft. Now, we take ‘Panama Hats’ to a new level with a vibrant, modern fusion between that unmistakable elegance and a touch of tropical charm.
In addition to offering a full range of Elegancia Tropical hats, there is always an option for co-branding with specific colours or bespoke hat-bands, so retailers can offer their customers a range of hats that cannot be bought anywhere else.
At Elegancia Tropical Hats we prioritize sustainability in every step of production. We believe in supporting the local economy by sourcing our raw materials from small producers and paying fair wages to over 20 artisans for their talent and hard work in creating these beautiful pieces.
The fiber with which ‘Panama Hats’ are made is called toquilla straw, a vegetable fiber obtained from an endemic palm tree of Ecuador that can only grow at altitudes above 3,200 feet. Besides being farmed in an eco-friendly way, this fiber is also 100% biodegradable.
Once the toquilla straw has been dried, treated and colored, it is handwoven by expert artisans to build the hoods that will later be shaped into hats. It takes at least 8 hours to complete the weaving of each piece. This difficult and traditional art of hand weaving was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2012, an honorary title awarded to practices, traditions, knowledge, and skills which communities have passed down from generation to generation as part of their cultural heritage.
The water-repellent Andean sheep’s wool used to produce our felt hats originates from small communities of farmers in the Andes. The wool is treated and colored with eco-friendly chemicals and natural dyes and is 100% biodegradable.