ABOUT OUR COMPANY

TRADITION - QUALITY - SOCIAL RESPONSABILITY

Exportadora K. Dorfzaun was founded in 1939 by the first generation of the Dorfzaun family who took refuge in Ecuador from the horrors of the Second World War.

Semi Dorfzaun - the pioneer, had bought a Panama Hat in Germany in 1935. He was determined to find the origin of this beautiful object as he searched for a safe haven and a place to start a new life.

This idea that brought him to Ecuador developed into a life of passion, dedication and successful business that for 75 years through the work of four generations of the Dorfzaun family has brought the finest and most beautiful hats to every corner of the world. This hats, hand woven of toquilla straw are known throughout the world as Panama Hats, bear the distinct seal of Hecho en Ecuador, Made in Ecuador, which distinguishes the power and skill of the Ecuadorian artisans.

K.Dorfzaun is a company characterized by the highest quality and excellence standards and by our commitment to social responsibility toward our workers and the environment. Our company maintains treasured tradition while projecting towards the future. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated and competent workers who are proud to know that their work and designs influence and determine hat fashion around the world.

HISTORY OF THE PANAMA HAT

VALDIVIAN CULTURE

Historians can trace the origins of Toquilla Hats as far back as to the Valdivian culture (3500BC to 500BC). These indigenous people used the strong and long leaves of the toquilla plant to weave a light cloth, which was pliable and durable; with it they formed hats used for protection from the harsh equatorial sun. From those times onward the plant was cultivated and the hats woven and used by the inhabitants of the coastal equatorial lands. These hats were called “tocas” and their use expanded to other nearby regions in what is now Ecuador.

THE FIRST WORKSHOPS

The kings of Spain Carlos IV and his wife Maria Luisa, fascinated by the “tocas”, promoted craft workshops for making straw hats, and the plant which provided the straw was named "carludovica palm" in honor of the King.

The craftsman constantly perfected their weave and the hats became popular not only for their practicality but also for their beauty. Toquilla hats became known to the world as Panama Hats, because they were used by the workers who were building the Panama Canal, and also because it was from Panama that the hats were sent to other parts of the world. However, Panama Hats, have always been woven by artisans in Ecuador with the fine toquilla straw, which grows on the Ecuadorian coastal region.

PRODUCTION PROCESS

FROM THE CULTIVATION BEGINS THE QUEST FOR A PERFECT HAT

Artisans choose the longest stems to cut and get the tenderest straw possible. From the cultivation and harvesting of the straw begins the quest for a perfect hat.

Carefully straw stems cut into long strips.
Thin strands selected are boiled and dried.
The long straws are taken to dry. They remain during the day under the intense rays of the equatorial sun and are left to rest in the cool night breeze.
Thus obtaining its characteristic color.

THE STRAW IS READY TO BE WOVEN

The process of weaving a hat can take up to six months. Weavers interleave threads creating straw figures and textures that culminate in the finished hat.

Woven with the experience and tradition of their culture, transmitted from generation to generation.

The craftsmen combine their skills and knowledge with the demands of the latest trends in the fashion world.

THE COLOR OF STRAW HATS IS NATURAL.

After a long and careful process, the hat is washed and left to dry in the sun completing a process of natural coloring. Other colors and dyes used are organic and certified.

PACKAGING

Specialized workshop, with 78 years of experience in hat making, produces a great variety of hat products . Expert personal creates top quality hat finishing and trimmings.