Ethics and Sustainability

When you purchase hats from La Rubia Key West, you can be sure that you are helping to perpetuate the centuries-old tradition of hand weaving toquilla straw hats by the indigenous people of Ecuador, a dying skill.  In recent decades the weaving of straw hats in Ecuador has declined as younger generations choose to attend technical schools rather than follow in their parents’ footsteps of weaving hats for a living.  Unfortunately, the biggest threat to Ecuador’s hat weaving industry is China where cheap, machine-made knockoffs saturate the international hat market.

The eco-fashionable Ecuadorian hats are hand woven from toquilla palm straw which is a rapidly renewable resource that grows in the swamps of the Manabi region on the coast of Ecuador.  The straw is then taken to the Azuay province around Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, to be woven and finished into the chic headwear by skilled artisans.

We have established relationships with weaving associations that operate on fair trade principals making the hats and their production both socially and environmentally sustainable.