Not just any hat, but a piece of cultural heritage of humanity. These hand-woven hats have been around for longer than anyone could keep track. Their Spanish name was brought up by the Spaniards conquistadors that first arrived to Ecuador and saw the native people wearing them. Since they resembled the Spanish "tocas" they called them "toquillas". Made of young palm leaves which are boiled, dried and bleached, these hats are soft, airy, flexible, light, classy, elegant, ..., perfect!
They are famously, or rather infamously, known worldwide as "Panama Hats" because Panama was the biggest port of commerce for them. When someone bought one of these hats there and went home, it was inevitable to be asked where such great hat was bought. The trouble is that where it was bought, was not the same place where it was made. Ecuador is the only place in the world where these beauts are made and where this tradition has lived for centuries.
Finally, on the 5th of December of 2012, a new era started for this specialty hat. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially inscribed it on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
"Intangible Cultural Heritage is our bridge from the past to the future. It is the way we understand the world and the means by which we shape it. It is a foundation of wisdom and knowledge upon which to build sustainable development for all." -UNESCO
We are delighted to announce our official 2013 sponsorship of some of the best polo in the world taking place at one of the most beautiful clubs in the world, International Polo Club Palm Beach. (http://www.internationalpoloclub.com)
The line-up includes such prestigious high-goal competitions as the Joe Barry Memorial Cup, Ylvisaker Cup and USPA Piaget Gold Cup, culminating with the playing of the coveted Maserati 109th U.S. Open Polo Championship™.
Join us every Sunday to be part of the way the game of polo is meant to be enjoyed, not just as a sport, but as a lifestyle.
Find us on instagram http://www.instagram.com/metiercrafts
On Instragram we don't only share beautiful pictures of our one-of-a-kind creations, but also of beautiful moments that are the source of our inspiration. Let's get closer, let's start sharing.
Milestones of 2012 (so far):
1.We started 2012 in Wellington, Florida by taking part of the longest equestrian event in the world, the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). For 12 consecutive weeks we were able to share our story and that of our hats with people from all over the world who showed their appreciation and support without hesitation. We were especially lucky to have the internationally renowned luxury-goods manufacturer HERMES as our neighbor. We took advantage of our long stay in Florida and joined two of the main Polo events in the area as sponsors and vendors: the Polo US Open at the International Polo Club in Palm Beach and the Miami Beach Polo. Coming April we flew to California to take part of the prestigious Del Mar National Horse show for three weeks and a couple other equestrian events in the L.A. area.
2. We were able to join the Del Mar National Horse Show as sponsors and vendors and there is where we had the honor of meeting Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg as they visited our stand. Their shopping experience translated into the purchase of 12 of our hats, which confirmed to us the high level of quality and detail we have been able to achieve with the world-famous hand-woven natural straw hats, original from Ecuador. “I always wear hats and I have been looking for something like this for a long time.” ~ Kate Capshaw about our METIER hats.
3. At the end of May we were part of a Memorial Day show in Los Angeles together with a Dressage show full of Magic. Then our road trip started. We traveled over eleven thousand miles, drove through 23 states, went to two more shows one in Colorado and one in New Jersey, camped out in almost a dozen campgrounds in national and state parks and got back to Miami to set a permanent office before flying back home to Ecuador. We are proud to say that we kept our vegetarian diet free from junk food except from the occasional kettle cooked potato chips. Staying with friends and family made our journey so much lighter through places like L.A., Denver, Chicago, Washington DC, Eastover (South Carolina) and filled us with warm energy. We feel like we have a great big family all over the world.
4. Before flying back to Ecuador we made sure to send the first check in support of the Galapagos Scholarship Project to the EARTH University Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia. We have now contributed with 10% of the annual cost of the scholarship that gives the first student from the Galapagos Islands, Micaela Solis, the chance to study sustainable agriculture and community development in the best university in this field. We are delighted to be part of this project that supports the search for knowledge in order to create conscious, ethical leaders that recognize the value of biodiversity conservation for the evolution of humanity to a more equitable and just society.
This is just a small grain in a pile of sand but you can be sure we will keep giving our best every moment to bring positive change to the world one hat at a time. Thank you all for your constant support and thank you for letting us be part of your family!
Much love,Hugo, Diana and Alessandro.