Archivo del Autor: Andrea

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

“Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do…”

“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.” Do you remember the one single classic character, who read so much that got completely crazy? This Spanish book, recently, celebrated its 400 year anniversary, and the entire world (even though the people who do not have read it all) recognize its literary value and might have shared a few of its legendary sentences.

I have to say that I was a little afraid of the length of this book, so it was not my first option for my lecture list but at the University, I had a special course that introduced me to this magnificent story.  The last day of that course my teacher told us: “Now you can feel very good, you are part of the few people that have read this book entirely”.

don quijote - dibujo2

So for this article, I really wanted to share with you the love that I have for Don Quijote de la Mancha. This character has a very special nature, as a “knight-errant”, always searching for new adventures and also willing to prove his courage. I think that the best hat model option for him would definitely be the Traveller Classic by Ecua-Andino. This hat can really get through tough situations like “fights with giants, magicians or brave moors” – a long-lasting and reliable hat, for any trip you have!

The best part is that you can adjust it to your head.

Please don´t think I´m crazy or dummy to make these literary associations, or….who knows maybe I am? Remember that I am a Literature student…;)


You can find this model here.


Let’s stay in touch and don’t forget to feed back with comments,




Are you ready for some exciting news?

In less than a week we will have our entire new video for the 2016 Gallery Collection.

In order to make a photo shoot it involves quite a great staff!


The entire team . From left to right : Ricky Cohete, Eduardo Aspiazu, Majo Paredes, Eloïse Cornu, Estefanía Ramón, Leira Araújo, me and my dad Alejandro.

 From Ricky Cohete (without any doubt the best Ecuadorian fashion photographer), our great models, María José Paredes & Eduardo Aspiazu, and an amazing production team (Eloïse, Estefanía, Leira and myself), everyone gave its 100% of involvement in the development of the video.

Ecua-Andino has been creating fashion videos since 2012 that not only show new hat collections, but also share a story. This time the locations were two of the sunniest places here in Ecuador, La Lobería and La Chocolatera. We started the day with a little failure (a flat tire), but it did not matter, after some good coconut and watermelon we were back on track. My friend Leira ()and I were in charge of the backstage pictures, it was very amusing to see us like annoying paparazzis behind Ricky most of the time.

For this occasion we were all wearing Panama Hats, it just seemed like a colorful walking rainbow.

I opted for a lookalike Bee outfit (yellow/black t-shirt), some denim shorts and a pair of simili Birkenstocks sandals, but my best choice was the electric yellow hat model by Ecua-Andino (can you spot the Toucan logo?)


You will see some pictures below,






Get prepared for the new video!



Blue is the prettiest color!

I recently received some advice from a family member to change the colors of my dark outfits. I have to confess that I love all the shades of cold colors just like blue for example. So (yes again!) I used a light blue pair of jeans, black casual sandals and a porcelain print blouse.

A few days ago was organized a bazar in my home country that took place for the weekend and where our Ecua-Andino Panama Hats were sold.



This littlemarket takes place approx two times a year, for Christmas and Mother’s day. The stands showed different types of products from Ecuador, such as jewelry, clothes, foods, cosmetics.

This time, it was taking place in the Teatro Sanchez Aguilar with an outstanding neoclassical architecture building.




That day I wore a light blue model hat that you can find just here ,

Keep in touch,

Andrea Lecaro