BEIJING – The Ecuadorian trade office in Beijing organized a fashion show on Thursday featuring male and female models wearing the brimmed straw head coverings that are a creation of Ecuador but have come to be known as Panama hats.
The show drew fashionistas and others from the capital during the 3rd Chinese Hat Festival.
“It’s very important that other cultures get to know the straw hat, where it comes from, how it’s made and, above all, its social importance,” Ecuadorian trade counselor Leonardo Chang told EFE.
In 2012, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the traditional Ecuadorian straw hat as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
That recognition has pushed Ecuador to sponsor this product all over the world, and China is no exception.
“We plan on increasing exports of straw hats to the Chinese market and we will have other events like this so they can get to know them,” Chang said.
Ecuador has been promoting its most successful exports, ranging from shrimp to coffee, chocolate, roses and now straw hats, in the always promising Chinese market.
“We already sell here. There’s a potentially growing market and the amounts are still small compared to others, but that’s why we organize these events,” the trade official said.