Our Story

Owner Stephanie discovered the Ecuadorian-made “Panama” hats while visiting the beautiful Colonial city of Cuenca, Ecuador.  She knew that she had found something incredibly special in these hats that combine skilled artisanship, culture, history, fashion and both environmental and cultural sustainability.  She also realized that Panamas are perfect for warm Florida weather. 

Stephanie launched the La Rubia brand and opened the Key West store in 2014.  The former designer takes part in the design of the hats, but she insists that Panamas are really about the people who weave them.  She is passionate about the hats and humbled that she can help to perpetuate the art of hand weaving toquilla straw in Ecuador. 

In addition to the hats, Stephanie imports many other artisanal, fair-trade items from Ecuador that fit La Rubia’s theme of handcrafted, sustainable beauty.