Archivo del Autor: Andrea

El Descanso Music Festival 2016

I live in Guayaquil , a commercial port that is the Coast of Ecuador, so you will understand that whenseveral headaches or pain in the heart.  We are in an era where the globalization allows us to know the entire musical proposal that exists around the world! In Ecuador are many young bands that have moved from playing in garages to big music festivals like the Lollapalooza. There are well-known Ecuadorian festivals like the Quito Fest, El Carpazo, Fiesta de la música, El Funka Fest and some other. This time I attended to “El Descanso” Festival that was in a place named: Zona del Descanso, near the Cuenca city.


Ph: Simpol ei

Last week I travelled to Cuenca, to know a little more about the city and to go to this festival. Three of my favourite bands played there, and they totally rocked! I knew since the beginning that I will forget any shame and I will dance till it hurts! These were the bands: (La Máquina Camaleón, was invited the next year to the Lollapalooza Argentina)   (Legs) (Swing Original Monks)


Ph: Simpol ei


Ph: Simpol ei

This time I was for more than 3 days, because I wanted to see one of my nearest friends from the University. The nights in Cuenca are very cold, but you can make a lot of things. There was a fair near the center of Cuenca, where the people can find any handmade or artisanal stuff. At the fair they sold everything from clothes to food, so I tried there some candies with liqueur, which where definitely a burst of flavor in my mouth I move to the Highlands I have to calm myself a little bit in order to not suffer from headaches.

Sometimes It´s definitly good  to take a time off from all the noise and get lost in a different city!


I will come back


I know I have not written any article from a while.This year I passed through a very strange and difficult period of inner silence and that also reflects on my blog. I must be sincere when I say that I hate all that stuff that related with the self-help or the programs and people who encourage you to move forward even though you know you are under mood swings. Albert Camus said (the quote is translated):” to remain alone in Paris for a year in a miserable room teaches a man more than a hundred literary salons”. In my case to remain alone in my room almost one year, help me to recognize my breaking points and also to understand my chaotic mind.

I think that there are a lot of signs around me that must be checked very carefully, the development of my blog is one of them.  I love to read, believe me when I say that there were weeks when I read more than 5 books at the same time ( the Literature classes were pretty charged) The writing path is sometimes a little bit tortuous, intricate and also demand a lot of time. So I decide today to bury the procrastination specter that is always above me!

Now I can formerly change the status in my blog, I´m not longer a “Literature student” but a Bachelor in Literature. There is a quote here in my country that is: the time is short and never returns back!  I have a lot of disposition now, so let´s restart the journey and I hope I will have your lecture and feedback very soon…


Our journey to Cayambe!

Only two times in my life, i have to deal with a role in the production area of an audiovisual product. My first experience brought me a ton of anxiety , a multiple inside yelling, and a muscle contracture  ( I ended  in the clinic with an injection on my back) I though that it would be my last time as a production assistant, but indeed it may be a premonition of my real challenge in Ecua-Andino.

Since 4 years Ecua-Andino has presented all their collections through videos, and the evolution of each story is pretty obvious. This time the proposal was to disconnect of the cliche view that only involves our Ecuadorian hats and the sun. Our country does not only produce the bad well-known “Panama hats” but also the woolhats!  In my country there is a long mountain range named “Los Andes”, where there are a lot of volcanos and snow-covered mountains.


The chosen spot was the Cayambe Volcano, so I knew since the  beginning that it will be an odyssey. The chosen models were friends of mine, because we want to recreate like a trip between good acquaintances. As you may see in the video, we totally made it! Actually it was pretty good to have such proximity with the entire crew, so most of the reactions you see are genuine.  As we are people that are used to the warm weather, we had to first  acclimatize. But the fact is that we didn´t have so much time, so we travel as  total adventurers.

We made an stop in two places one in the Coast and the other in the Highlands, the first one was Bucay, that is well known for the Antique railroad that pases through this town and the waterfalls. The second one was in Colta, we took some photos outside the church and then we continue with the travel.


Credits: Margarita Vidal

We stayed at the Hacienda El Aliso, that was an “active farm, located at 3.100 m. of altitude, in the beautiful cloud forest at the base of the Cerro Blanco Reserve, nearby Otavalo in the Province of Imbabura. “ If you need extra information, go and check the link at the bottom.


Claudia Sánchez was the director of the video ;)


Selfie in the rocks


Credits: Margarita Vidal Models from left to right: David Valdez, Leira Araújo, me and Anahí Concari


Definitely the climax of the trip, was the hiking of the Cayambe Volcano. We felt a lot of strength, eventough the nervous was printed in our legs, we want to achieve that moment. So we forgot everything, the tempestuous cold wind,  the constant hand-shake, the grind of the teeth and the low oxigen.

The entire video is here:, enjoy it! ;)

You can never be OVERDRESSED with a Panama Hat!


“Fashion should be flexible and responsive. Instead, global chains are trying to take the risk out of fashion by selling the same carefully orchestrated trends, which are repeated on the racks of virtually every retailer, making our store-bought looks feel homogenous and genericElizabeth L. Cline- Overdressed


How much of you have ever been tired of wearing the same flowered dress, the same button-front denim skirt, the same black chocker ( yes, like the thousands of girls in their Tumblr Profiles), the same cropped flare jeans as anyone else and so on? I decided to start this post with a quote that really impressed me, and the funny part is that I found it on a book that I didn´t buy. In my country Guayaquil, Ecuador, there is one cultural group named “Casa Morada” that made almost every month “the book garage” (where people can buy and exchange their own books). That´s where I got my precious acquisition,  the ethical fashion book “Over-Dressed” by Elizabeth L. Cline, and I discovered there an entire different worldview about the responsability of buying in a correct way.  Most of us are enchanted by the same look-alike clothes that we find on Zara, Bershka and other fast fashion companies, not only because they are on “trend” but also because of their lower prices.  But if you let me sincere to you, I was really tired and exhausted of see clones of me everywhere!


The fact is,  I was totally blinded by the magazines and all the other bloggers that propose to wear the exactly dress or skirt, so I  said to myself: Am I condemned to be a robot-follower of the trends or I can construct my own style? The media tell us to be UNIQUE AND ORIGINAL WOMEN, but  the truth is that in a world that promotes to consume and the massification of all, yes- including the fashion sector, we are far away from this wish. So I realized that the only solution and cure for me at least  were this two things:

First I go to all this fast fashion stores and made a shock therapy ( I walk through the showcase but I don´t buy anything), so when I get away I feel this special satisfaction because I don´t succumb to their atraction powers.


Second  I go to some swapping events and  thrift shops here in my city, and started to make unique purchases ( believe me  or not I have  found pretty good stuff and above all I can be hundred porcent sure that not anyone will have my oufit)

 At least I can be sure of one accesory that its price is perfectly accurate with the reality! Since I was a little girl I knew the entire process behind our iconic Ecuadorian hat and the time that our weavers spent on its manufacture , but that’s a topic for another article!

For this ocassion I wore a Montecristi Ecua-Andino Hat,  denim vintage long skirt, a black blouse a  and a flat blue navy sandals (made by a Ecuadorian shoemaker),

Journey to the Spirit of Ecuador

Well, yes, I admit in public: I’m not neutral (I never claimed I was ;) It is not only my new travelmate – a wonderful Panama Hat – but also the marvellous moments in Guayaquil and Manabí, the sympathetic company of Andrea and Ecua Andino Hats and our journey along the entire production chain of Panama Hats that make me say: Wow, I’m impressed! This was one of the most beautiful moments of my journey through Latin America. Honestly, who wouldn´t be happy in the company of (hat-)soulmates?


Anyway Imagine the most original thing from your country is said to be from another country, although it’s totally clear that you “own” this thing, idea, story… Imagine the Baseball Cap was called Nicaragua Cap, imagine Scotch was called French.

Repeatedly, every Ecuadorian you talk to will tell you: The Panama Hat is NOT from Panama. It is from Ecuador. The finest Jipijapas (that’s the original name of these straw hats) are produced here, along the coastline of Ecuador’s Provence Manabí. In Panama, there were just the right people with a lot of money in the right moment of time, who made hat dealers export their products to the canal. This art of hat-making, however, you find only in Ecuador. Nobody seems to notice. And here we find ourselves just in the middle of Ecuador’s soul: A small, not really important but tremendously beautiful country that fights to be noticed as something more than just Galapagos and bananas. Hat-makers in Ecuador live in small houses in small villages. They don’t earn much. Again and again they explain visitors how Panama Hats are made, in order for their craft to be the choice and not the cheap machine-made plastic hats.


The sparkling colourful showroom might not transport the long long story of the hat-making craft in Ecuador. Yet, every single Panama Hat is 100% handmade. Even the straw is carried by donkeys if the weather doesn’t allow for heavy machines to be used, if the pick-ups get stuck in the mud, for example.

It has been raining heavily for a week. That doesn’t really disturb me in the breath-taking humid heat of Guayaquil. But it disturbs the production. The volume of water which has rained down on Manabí and trickled down through roofs and into the earth, has stopped the straw drying and bleaching processes. Some orders won’t be sent in time.


A little of the ever more difficult climate conditions – talking about El Nino, for example, – I see when I stand next to the Ecua Andino Hats team. In their sandwich position between clients – hat dealers all over the world – and hat weavers working in cooperatives they constantly have to mediate.

They sometimes can’t deliver in time, because the hats have just not arrived. Clients need to be contacted, hat makers as well. What is the problem? When will they deliver? Are there any alternatives? But what can be done when there is draught or when it rains twine so that the straw does not dry but rot?


Andrea Lecaro from Ecua Andino Hat, Fashionblogger Aleech and I want to know more. We start our trip to the production places early in a rainy morning. When we arrive at the cooperative Santa Elena things look bad. We walk into a huge drying hall which is full of straw. But the rain has already destroyed most of the straw when it was drying outside. The black tips indicate that it’s rotting. The women and men from the cooperative lost weeks of hard work. In addition to this tragedy, they cannot continue their work now, because the rain has flooded the dirt roads. They can hardly move from one house to the next. The ladies argue strongly that they urgently need rubber boots. So, Andrea takes their shoe sizes: Teresa: 34, Margarita 35, Maxsimiliano 40…

Afterwards they show me how the material for the hat-weaving is made: The men and women from the cooperative cut the leaves into strips and take out the outer green parts (these are used for the roofs). The yellowish white strips they boil in huge pots for a few hours. Afterwards they dry them just the way you would dry your clothes on never ending lines.

Only when the material is really dry it can be coloured. Therefoer other big pots are used. To bleach it, Teresa and her colleagues put the straw in a separate “room” together with sulfur. “Bleaching is very unhealthy,” Teresa explains. That’s why we have these rooms, now.

Depending on the quality of the ordered hats the weavers, who buy the straw from the cooperative, continue to cut it into even finer strips. Only when everything is perfectly well prepared they start weaving.


Don’t ask me, how exactly the weaving is being done. I’ve watched them for hours and hours and still I’m not able to tell. There are different patterns and as I said before there are different qualities. The finest hats have hundreds of little knots per square inch. Just try. Sit down with a handful of straw and make 400 knots per square inch. If you manage to do so I’ll give you Mr Espinar’s contact. He will definitely be interested in finally talking to someone who is able to hold a candle to him. Mr Espinar lives in Pile, close to Montecristi. His father Senóvio is 73 years old, still doing hats for 8 hours a day. The rest of the day Senóvio works in the fields. !!!

Author of the article: Stefanie Bickle

My beloved Jane




I´m so sorry for the total abandonment of my blog, actually at this moment I´m in a struggle in my University. I´m searching for some themes for my thesis and as dispersed person, I have a lot of ideas but none of them materialize. My tutor said he trust on me, but most of my fingers are bitten (yes,  i bite  them when I get stressed or nervous)

As a Literature student  I always love to talk about books and their unforgetable characters,  every good reader has its own top 10 list, that´s the reason why I create this section “ HAT FICTION”, I hope that you don´t get bored!

One of my beloved writers,  Jane Austen, said once: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” Today I want to talk about two characters that are well known: Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Their particular personalities: Elizabeth Bennet has an impetuous spirit, a mind with a lot of prejudices and she loves to read, on the other side Fitzwilliam has a pride heart and he has also some prejudices regarding to the social conditions and manners of the people around him; makes everyone to love them and remember them always.


I will definitly choose the lady classic white hat for her and the classic beige hat for him! My two favourite characters cannot wear a lot of colors or weird brims, they belong to the classic world :)

Leave me any comments,



1 Year of Panamaholic!

Whaaaaaaat? My blog has already a year? I can´t believe it!

When I started this journey I had printed on my mind that it wouldn´t be definitely like the other fashion blogs. So I made 4 sections that let me have some creativity and also self-expression: PLACES, HAT FICTION HATS EVERYWHERE, HAT ART. Since the beginning I want to express throughout my posts not the typical advice “You should wear this o the trends are”, so I propose myself to show my readers, that the only different statement in their outfits can be the good choice of a Panama hat. My clothes most of the time were casual and I didn´t reveal where they come from, because for me was kind of useless.

What I achieved this year? Well, more confidence of course. I want to give God a special thanks for all the surprises during this 2015 (an important magazine here in Ecuador named “Hola”, made an article about my blog and the labour I play in Ecua-Andino), also  I have been making some good friends such as  Krysthell Ganin, one of the most humble and prolific Ecuadorian photographers  and Virgit Canaz, one of the most impressive Ecuadorian fashion bloggers). Eventhough there were stressful times or sadly moments, this 2015 brought me the joy of having a supporting family, that gave me many advices and loyal friends that helped me.

I gained experience but most of all I decided to follow a path,  that will bring me tons of joy I hope. I have to admit that I need more commitment with the articles and also to post more, so my goal for this New Year it will be definitely to get more involved with my blog.


ph: Rubén Ruata @rubenruatab

I hope you have the best new year!


Gabriela Moncayo, an emerging Ecuadorian illustrator


Today I want to share with you a special interview, I made recently to a member of our big family here in Ecua-Andino. Her name is Gabriela Moncayo and she studies at this moment Audiovisual and Multimedia Communication in the Casa Grande University, here in Guayaquil/Ecuador. She is the magnificent illustrator that has been made these drawings/animations that you probably saw in our Instagram/Facebook profile. It´s unique talent helps her to create wonderful animated stories!

gabi 2

At what age did you start drawing?

In fact I would say that at the age of 1, I remember I did a painting and filled with paint stains.

How do you decide for your carrier?

Even tough I wanted at the beginning to study animation, I do not research very well.  So I finally decided for this carrier and I learned to do many more things such as emotion graphics. Also I found that I like editing and post-production, so I could expand my mind beyond animation.

¿Do you have a favourite illustrator or someone as a reference for your own work?

I love Raindrop Memory, and also like Ilya Kuvshinov, although what he does not look like anything of my work, but I admire him a lot.  I also really like Yotam Perel, who is an Israeli animator and illustrator.

Do you think you have your own style or all your illustrations are mixture of style?

It’s a mix of everything I’ve seen and I love since childhood. Well , when I was a teenager and I started to get more involved with the Internet content.  I could see illustrators from around the world. While I was discovering my own style I took pieces of what I liked most of the others, because that’s what happens when you see someone you like, you tend to attract to them.

I know it’s a cliché question, but do you find inspiration when illustrating something or you just let the art run across you?

When I am making stories, like animations, I like to hear music. Always before I develop an  idea, I normally found a song that totally catches my attention. I am very visual, I imagine a story in my mind and sometimes I like to turn them into animations.

How do you see the development of illustration in Ecuador? Or is still to much to reach the vision that it has internationally?

Well, both. In Ecuador is still the storytelling in the animation not exploited, or I have seen that they are totally commercial things. There is only advertising and animation programs for children, but not beyond like in other countries.

How did the idea of collaborating with Ecua-Andino emerge?

Three months ago I was in Europe, because I went to an interuniversity exchange with my best friend. When we finished classes, we made an Eurotrip and I accompanied her to the hats shows in Germany. While others looked what they sold, I sat down and started to draw girls with Ecua-Andino Hats and then I show them to Alejandro, Alejandra and Claudia. They really liked.  I did the draw with a pencil and then painted in my cellphone, in fact it was very spontaneous, unprofessional or unelaborated. Then they contacted me and from there I started working with them.


If you want to know more about her work, take a look to her page:

Leave me any comments you have,



People love denim but do I?

Last year the denim trend was so overrated, that I only read articles about the multiple ways of using your T-shirt and jeans. There were tons of people wearing the exactly type of outfit, with no difference than the shoes or the bags. So I was wondering how about to take this hyped-up trend and mix it with our hats?  


I decided to return to one of our emblematic places here in Guayaquil, Las Peñas, and take there some photos. Claudia, the daughter of my father´s partner, took the colourful pictures. Eventhough we were soo exposed to the sun, the time we have there was really worth it.


_MG_2588 _MG_2592


For this ocasion I wore a Desigual dress, black sandals and different models of hats with the aesthetic denim. You can find the models here:

People always sucumb to the enchantment of  denim and so do I! :D

Stay tuned and wait for my next article!



«Blues in my soul»

Yesterday it was a very blues day. The Ecuadorian American center in Guayaquil, organized a musical event where Blues was the main protagonist of the night. They brought the amazing guitarist and singer Lurrie Bell. The concert started on time (7:10 pm) and finished approx. one hour and a half later.


Lurrie Bell began to play guitar at age of six, and in his adolescence he glazed his skills playing with some legends of Chicago blues set like Eddie Taylor and Big Walter Horton. Even though Bell´s career seems to be going forwards through the years, he won so much attention of the people, that later he developed some emotional problems and also drug abuse, that didn´t let him to perform with his normally skills.

Fortunately he passed all this path and return to delight us with his God-touched fingers. Additionally in 2014 he won a Blues Music Award for his track «Blues in my Soul», in the ‘Song of the Year’ category. Bell was also nominated for a similar award in four other categories. This year he won a Blues Music Award in the ‘Traditional Blues Male Artist’ category.


I attended to the event in company of my dad, and we have the infinite pleasure of giving him one of our precious hats (there were also other hats for the members of his band). They played the entire concert with our iconic hat, and songs like “Let´s talk about love” gave us chills of excitement. Everyone enjoyed their performance and you could see the audience clapping their hands and moving their feet according to the beat.


I used for this occasion a Bershka dress, black sandals, a cardigan Lu by Lolita such as a white classic Panama Hat (but never mind). You can find it here.


There are a lot of things more important to use like a big smile when you met such an artist.

leave all your comments,

Andrea Lecaro