I was walking around Cuenca, when i discovered two cool hat shops. This first one was massive.
They demonstrated the complete complete assembly line of a panama style hat.
From weaving the blank to sewing the brim. They had presses from Brazil that would take a generic hat shape, and through heat and preasure, form it into a specific style.
It was cool seeing the specilized tools, and spare molds around the shop.
Every hat from this shop came out perfect, quickly made, formed in minutes.
About a half mile a way I found this place.
A hole-in-the-wall place. The owner formed the hats by hand, using a hot iron, and a sponge.
He had been working with hats for over 20 years. Most of the hats on his shelfs had names pinned on them, waiting for the person who orded them.
I asked the guy how long it took him to make a hat? He replied, “eight days.”
you could tell the hats were hand made. The brims weren’t perfectly flat, and each one differed from the next.
The averge cost of a hat in the first shop went for $20, in the secound $5.
Of course the hats in the first were perfect, but i think that is missing the point.
Take it easy,
Ps: Attempting to put an Ecuadorian sized hat on a American sized head, may cause spurratic outbreaks of laughfter.