Hat (Panama)

Brent Black

Established 1988

Traditionally made in Ecuador, a Panama hat is a light-colored, lightweight, brimmed straw hat. The best quality hats are made in the town of Montecristi, where they have established a grading system called the Montecristi Cuenta: the amount of horizontal and vertical rows of weave per inch. The rarest and most expensive Panama hats, the Montecristi superfino’s, count up to 3000 weaves per square inch. The story goes it can hold water and, when rolled up, pass through a ring.

Due to economic problems in Ecuador and competition from Chinese hat producers, production was diminishing year by year. Established in 1988, Brent Black wants to prevent the impending extinction of hat weaving in Montecristi. Brent Black works together closely with weavers, giving them fair prices and helping them understand the value of their hats: what makes one hat worth more than another and how to weave hats that will bring higher prices.

Why on Wikiconic?
Keeping tradition alive.
Photo credits
© Brent Black Panama Hats, Kailua, Hawaii

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