Crafted in an indigenous village 60 miles north of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, Carlos and Maria create high quality wool hats. The hats are made of 100% wool that comes from sheep 150 miles south of their village. The wool is cleaned and processed into felt in a local mill that uses steam to matt down the fibers of the wool. The result is a piece of wool felt that is very strong and acts as an excellent water repellant.
The hat-making process takes many hours to complete. It all starts with a piece of wool felt in the shape of a cone, the material is coated in gelatin and compressed using industrial rollers to remove excess gelatin. An artisan – by the name of Elvis – then spends many hours steaming and shaping the woolen material over molds until it creates the crown of a hat. The material is then placed on another mold where the final shape of the crown is given. Once finishing touches are added to the hat, it is finally complete.