Made for hundreds of years, the Panama hat gained notoriety in the US – and around the world – at the start of the 20th-century, when President Theodore Roosevelt wore one as he inspected the progress of the Panama Canal. By the ‘40s-‘50s, the design had transformed into a style statement, thanks to Hollywood. Gregory Peck, Clark Gable, James Stewart, and then the likes of Robert Redford and Sean Connery wore Panama straw hats in renowned films or on and off set, cementing the design’s gentlemanly appeal.
Fast forward to 2018, and the Panama hat still maintains a sense of mystery, despite being one of the most iconic accessories. Two crucial facts – well-known by experts, those who work in the industry, and some fans of the design – continue to remain largely unknown. The first one is the name, which hints to Panama as a country of origin. In fact, these popular hats are Ecuadorian. More specifically, the authentic Panama straw hat and its finest examples come from the Montecristi area and the small town of Pile.