In 1,500, Spanish conquistadors began trading straw hats with Native Americans.
The Montecristi hat has been described for centuries by connoisseurs as the best toquilla straw hat in the world.
Few know that it is made in Ecuador.
In the Montecristi canton, in the province of Manabí in Ecuador. In the town of Pile.
Declared a denomination of origin trademark and since 2012 protected by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
Legend has it that at the inauguration of the Panama Canal in 1914, the President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt, wearing one of the Ecuadorian toquilla straw hats, was photographed and the press called the hat “Panama Hat”. Another version says that Roosevelt could not pronounce Montecristi Hat and it was easier for him to say Panama Hat. We may never know the true reason for the loss of his name and origin.
Since then, the media and people have called the Ecuadorian Panama Hat taking away its identity. More than a century of being called the wrong name has affected traditional weavers socially and economically.
According to anthropologists, the ritual of weaving was passed down from generation to generation, but today young people do not want to learn to weave because they cannot find an identity, they do not find continuity in their culture. Even with only 700 inhabitants, many call Pile, the town that for centuries has made the finest hats «the cemetery of the living.»
MOMA, Museum of Modern Art of New York, include the Montecristi hat in its exhibition «Is fashion modern?». For the exhibit, a 34″ grade straw hat was handmade, a very rare and unique fine hat.
This is the reason why we have created MY NAME IS MONTECRISTI.
The first worldwide campaign to give the name back to the most recognized and valued artisan product in Ecuador.
Thank you for knowing the real story and helping us change history and thus return the true Ecuadorian identity to the Montecristi hat.
Now that you know the truth, calling it a Panama hat would be fake news.