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London Fashion Week’s estethica highlights: Pachacuti

Posted Feb 24 2010 6:08am

pachacutihat The fair trade contemporary fashion brand Pachacuti introduced a new line of panama hats for spring/summer 2010 at estethica at London Fashion Week. Jenny Butler writes.

The new line sees a new lease of life injected into the classic South American hat, bringing a fresh more colourful approach to its design.

We spoke to Pachacuti about the reason behind the decision to bring panama hats back into the forefront of fashion.

Carry Somers established Pachacuti in 1992 after completing an MA in Native American Studies. On a research trip to Ecuador she was shocked by the inequitable trading patterns where intermediaries made all the profits.

On returning to the UK she read Anita Roddick’s autobiography and decided that, if one woman could have such a positive impact on the beauty industry, there was nothing to stop her doing the same for the fashion industry.

Our favourite hats are the colourful designs that would be perfect for summer. In vibrant pink, the ‘Cuzco’ Fedora named after the former capital of the Incas, has a traditional Peruvian style band that adds a touch of elegance to the piece. It is fun and vibrant and brings a new edge to the classic hat.

We also liked the black and white checked hat, which is already the hat of choice for TV Presenters and looks set to become an iconic hat.

The designs are made in Ecuador in a community owned plantation. The panamas are made from native toquilla palm, which is harvested sustainably along the coast of Ecuador and transported to town by donkey.

The entire processing of the hat uses no harmful chemicals and the mild chemicals used to bleach the hats are then filtered through a system of tanks so that water can be constantly re-used in the production process.

Pachacuti wants to ensure that the Panama hat continues to be a fashion icon into the next century.

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