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Where to buy a genuine montecristi (panama) straw hat for the summer?

josepidal

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Where is the best store to buy a montecristi (aka panama) hat from Ecuador from? There are more sellers who go online and I'd rather talk to someone in Ecuador than someone in the USA or UK. (Or is this a question better asked in Fedora Lounge?)

Do people here generally go for the classic fedora or something else? And do people really roll their ultrafino hats and squeeze them into suitcases?
 

Franco Ocarez

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Hi,
Brent Black is too expensive. I give you the website of an artisan of Panama hats. There you will find more information.


The prices are much lower for the same quality as Brent Black.

If you buy, let me know.
 

josepidal

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Has anyone tried Domingo Carranza? Not mentioned anywhere on this forum, except by one user selling her hat (and that user is not active and only had that one post).
 

Andy57

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You get what you pay for, as true when purchasing a Panama hat as anything else. Brent Black is one of the two places I purchase fine Panama hats from and he is a very good place to start. The other place is Optimo Hats, in Chicago. Both Brent and Graham Thompson, owner of Optimo, do a great deal to support the weavers in Montecristi. Another option is Wanahats, out of Miami. I have a couple of hats from them, but I don't know if they are sourced from Montecristi itself.

I have a Fedora, a couple of classic optimo style panamas, and a few other, more unusual styles. I really couldn't say what "most" people get. The only style you can roll is an optimo style hat, but under no circumstances should you roll a fine Panama hat. If you really feel you need to do that, buy a cheap Cuenca hat from Lock or some other place.
 

JFWR

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Not to derail the thread, but is there any reason that straw hats are so expensive? How long, for instance, does it take to make one of these?
 

Andy57

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Not to derail the thread, but is there any reason that straw hats are so expensive? How long, for instance, does it take to make one of these?
It takes from a few days for coarse weave hats, to many months for the very finest. The finer the toquilla palm straw is split, the finer, obviously, the weave of the hat will be. There are only a small handful of weavers in the world capable of weaving the very finest hats and each one can take up to six months to finish. If you want such a hat, Brent Black has them for around $25,000. I don't think he has much trouble selling them, either. These hats are more like linen than straw.

Simón Espinal is usually cited as the finest living weaver of Panama hats. You can read about the process here.
 

JFWR

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It takes from a few days for coarse weave hats, to many months for the very finest. The finer the toquilla palm straw is split, the finer, obviously, the weave of the hat will be. There are only a small handful of weavers in the world capable of weaving the very finest hats and each one can take up to six months to finish. If you want such a hat, Brent Black has them for around $25,000. I don't think he has much trouble selling them, either. These hats are more like linen than straw.

Simón Espinal is usually cited as the finest living weaver of Panama hats. You can read about the process here.

Oh wow. Six months for the finest? Holy God, that's impressive.

The reason why I asked is not at all to be disrespectful, but straw is not itself a valuable commodity. Leather, silk, cashmere, etc, are expensive commodities, so part of the expense is in the raw materials. Straw is common.

Thank you for the info.
 

Andy57

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Oh wow. Six months for the finest? Holy God, that's impressive.

The reason why I asked is not at all to be disrespectful, but straw is not itself a valuable commodity. Leather, silk, cashmere, etc, are expensive commodities, so part of the expense is in the raw materials. Straw is common.

Thank you for the info.
Panamas are not made from straw (well, not straw as you might usually think of it. They're made from the dried shoots of the Toquilla Palm). The value of a hat is in the skill of the weaver. That is what you are paying for. You can get a straw hat almost anywhere, even Lock. Genuine Montecristis are not available everywhere and some places that claim their hats are Montecristis are making dubious claims.
 
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breakaway01

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Oh wow. Six months for the finest? Holy God, that's impressive.

The reason why I asked is not at all to be disrespectful, but straw is not itself a valuable commodity. Leather, silk, cashmere, etc, are expensive commodities, so part of the expense is in the raw materials. Straw is common.
cost of highly skilled labor usually far outstrips cost of raw materials. I don’t think the value of an oil painting is measured primarily by the cost of the raw materials, wouldn’t you agree?

From the NYT article that @Andy57 posted: “The finest specimens have more than 4,000 weaves per square inch, a weave so fine it takes a jeweler’s loupe to count the rows. And every single one of those weaves is done by hand.”
 

JFWR

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cost of highly skilled labor usually far outstrips cost of raw materials. I don’t think the value of an oil painting is measured primarily by the cost of the raw materials, wouldn’t you agree?

From the NYT article that @Andy57 posted: “The finest specimens have more than 4,000 weaves per square inch, a weave so fine it takes a jeweler’s loupe to count the rows. And every single one of those weaves is done by hand.”

That is truly outstanding workmanship.
 

JFWR

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Panamas are not made from straw (well, not straw as you might usually think of it. They're made from the dried shoots of the Toquilla Palm). The value of a hat is in the skill of the weaver. That is what you are paying for. You can get a straw hat almost anywhere, even Lock. Genuine Montecristis are not available everywhere and some places that claim their hats are Montecristis are making dubious claims.

Very impressive. I understand now. Thanks.
 

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