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Old 08-10-2015, 01:03 PM   #1
A.T. Hagan
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Default He's Just Woven The World's Finest Panama Hat. But Who Will Buy It?

I can't afford a genuine Panama hat (just the lower end mass produced type), but I have long admired them.

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...ho-will-buy-it


Simon Espinal has woven what is perhaps the finest Panama hat in
haberdashery history.
Roff Smith for NPR


Quote:
Early one morning in June, a Panama hat weaver named Simon Espinal sat down to work at a wooden table in his house in Pile, an obscure village hidden in the hills near Montecristi, in Ecuador's steamy coastal lowlands.

Selecting eight threadlike strands of toquilla straw from a special stock of extraordinarily fine straw he had spent three weeks preparing, he separated them into four matched pairs with which he formed the cruzado — the crossed threads — that is the start of every Panama hat.

And then he began to weave.
Go and read this piece and look at the photos.

Genuine Panamas are *expensive*, and the top quality hats are *obscenely* expensive.

But if you do any reading at all about what goes into their manufacture you will understand why.

Seven or eight years ago I bought the next to cheapest Panama my hat supplier had. Stetson branded. It was only $65. Slightly better quality quickly went over a hundred bucks and the better quality jumped into the many hundreds of dollars then into the many thousands. Prince Harry can afford to bum around in one. I wear my cheapo on special occasions.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:12 PM   #2
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Fascinating article - who knew?
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:53 PM   #3
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WOW !

I never even thought about such things.

Thanks, Alan.
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:29 PM   #4
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It always seemed unfair that they were called Panama hats when they were produced in Ecuador.
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Old 08-20-2015, 02:45 PM   #5
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You Asked, We Deliver: A Portrait Of The World's Finest Panama Hat

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...est-panama-hat


This Panama hat woven by Simon Espinal may be the finest one
ever made.
Roff Smith for NPR


Quote:
And it turns out that the hat cannot be 100 percent finished until someone buys it. Our hat correspondent, Roff Smith, gave us the lowdown:

After months of weaving and passing through the hands of several specialist finishing artisans in the town of Montecristi, the masterpiece hat woven by Simon Espinal is still a work in progress — a blank canvas, if you will, awaiting the blocker's art.
My cheapo is in the Havana style like this one:

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