Meet the Mini System Tote, a new addition to our System Tote family. Crafted from a luxurious, bespoke Italian double-faced leather, it’s designed in a petite, perfect-for-summer size for your off-duty ventures.

This is not a Panama* Hat

*This is a hat handwoven in Ecuador, with love. 

Our fewer, better mission is grounded in the importance of preserving origin stories. Why? Because the story of where a product comes from is what gives it meaning, emotion, and connection. When a product is made by hand through a skill that has been passed down among many generations, it is guaranteed to last longer — it is made with love. The Panama* Hat, an iconic work of art reflective of Ecuadorian heritage, is a perfect example. 

a woman weaving a panama hat on the porch a woman weaving a panama hat on the porch a woman weaving a panama hat on the porch

Founded upon the intention of honoring the hands and lives of indigenous women who weave the Panama* Hat, Cuyana’s genesis story is all about love.

panama hats panama hats panama hats
woman weaving panama hat woman weaving panama hat woman weaving panama hat

In 2011, our Co-Founder Karla Gallardo traveled back to her home country of Ecuador to work alongside the Sigsig Ecuadorian community and created Cuyana’s first collection of Panama* Hats — a popular global commodity that originates from a centuries-old tradition of sustainably harvesting and weaving toquilla straw. As an art that is now part of our global supply chain, the tradition of weaving toquilla straw is a story that is core to Cuyana. In Quechua, an indigenous language of South America, Cuyana means “to love.” Our brand was named in this language to honor the women who wove our first collection, whose hands bring this treasure to life. 

While the Panama* Hat originated in Ecuador, it rose to popularity when photographed on Teddy Roosevelt at the Panama Canal inauguration — and that’s how this hat got its name. But the truth is, from palm frond to finish, the process of creating a Panama* Hat is a true labor of love that originated in Ecuador.

In Quechua, an indigenous language of South America, Cuyana means “to love.”

stacks of panama hats stacks of panama hats stacks of panama hats
a woman weaving a panama hat a woman weaving a panama hat a woman weaving a panama hat

There was once a time when local craftsmanship — a more sustainable and meaningful way of making products — drove our retail economy. Today, the future of heritage craft traditions is threatened by mass-production practices. While producing at a mass scale is inherently worse for the environment, it also jeopardizes heritage craft by diminishing the demand for locally-made goods. This is how products become disconnected from their origin stories. Our work is to give the makers and communities behind craft traditions a voice with the hope of keeping these traditions alive. 


As an art that is now part of our global supply chain, the tradition of weaving toquilla straw is a story that is core to Cuyana.

Sign Our Petition

Join us in our movement to combat the all-too-common, systemic problem of overlooking the contributions of indigenous women. Together, let's reclaim the rightful heritage behind the Panama* Hat, giving Ecuador and their artisans the recognition they deserve. Sign the petition to require all US retailers to change the name of the iconic Panama* Hat.

Shop our Hat Collection