About SunBody Hats
Discover the Unique Artistry and Quality of SunBody Hats: Imported Palm Leaf Hats from Guatemala and Mexico
SunBody Hats the leader in palmleaf hats since 1996!
SunBody Hats imports palm leaf hats from Guatemala and Mexico where they work directly with hat makers. They shape and trim them in their shop in Houston, Texas.
Sunbody Hats Mission is to deliver the finest quality Guatemalan Palm Leaf Hats to our customers when they need them and to their specifications. To develop the hat making industry in Guatemala in order to improve the standard of living and the quality of life for hatmakers, their families and their communities.
Why SunBody Palm Leaf Hats are Great
- They look great.
- They’re crushable and pop back out to their original shape.
- They can be easily reshaped just by getting them wet. No steam is required.
- They’re waterproof and will hold their shape even in a heavy downpour.
- They’re washable with just soap and water.
- They’re self conforming to the shape of your head.
Our Guatemalan Fine Palms are exclusive to SunBody Hats. With 1012 strands of braid to the inch, they are a marked improvement in appearance over our standard palms which have 7 strands/inch. And you can wet’em and shape’em, just like the other Guatemalan hats. Our Kid’s Palm Leaf Hat are tough and economical. They’re on esize fits 6 1/8″ to 6 7/8″.
Palm Leaf Hats are now a well established part of the hat market. They have indeed become a new category all their own, selling year round in all climates.
The Artisan Process Behind SunBody Hats
At SunBody Hats, they believe in preserving tradition and authenticity, which is well-reflected in their Guatemalan palm leaf hats. The tale of their creation starts at the southern coast of Guatemala, where independent harvesters collect palm from wild-growing trees near the mangrove swamps. These palms are specifically harvested from young trees as the new leaves from older trees tower too high for convenient gathering.
Once the palm is harvested, it’s sold to palm dealers who carefully remove the dark green outer edges of the leaves, revealing the sun-unexposed pale yellow inner leaf. These leaves are then spread across the beach, where they dry and undergo sun bleaching.
Every couple of weeks, family members from Quiche, located in the western highlands, collect the sun-bleached palm. In Quiche, the palm is soaked in water and positioned in small rooms constructed from rock and mortar. This is where the bleaching process occurs, using sulphur rocks from hot springs.
After the three-day bleaching process, the leaves are then transported to the local market where they are carefully sorted by peasant women. They handpick the whitest and most flexible leaves to create the braid for our SunBody hats.
In their spare time, these women meticulously cut the leaves into narrow strips. These strips are then woven into a seven-strand flat plait that maintains a continuous 52-foot length coiled into a spherical pattern. This braid is then sold to hat makers.
The hat makers specifically choose a narrow braid, around 1/2″ wide, to design the SunBody Hats. The process begins with the crown of the hat, using the braid to create a spiral, overlapping pattern that results in a three-layer thickness by the time it reaches the base of the crown. A wider strip of braid is then folded and sewn around the brim’s edge, requiring 150 feet of braid for a four-inch brim hat and up to 300 feet for finer hats.
While they block some hats in Guatemala, most are shipped to SunBody with open crowns for greater flexibility. They use wooden molds and hand blocking tools to give shape to these hats, preferring the cold-pressed method. This approach ensures the hats have a rich surface texture and flexibility, unlike the brittleness often found in heat-pressed hats. Also, it allows them to offer custom crease hats.
They take pride in the uniqueness of each SunBody Hat as no two hats are identical due to the handmade process.