San Francisco—Long a Center of Innovative Fashion

San Francisco is one of the world capitals of fashion innovation, going back to Gold Rush days with the invention of the denim blue jean, and in fact the introduction of the packable panama hat to North America. Successful Gold Rush prospectors bought "panamas" in Panama on their way back East. There are drawings of 49ers sitting on the steps of the Philadelphia Mint with their bags of gold dust, wearing panamas.

At the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, Levi Strauss set up a working demonstration of the manufacture of blue jeans. And one of the themes at the Exposition, was the completion and opening of the Panama Canal, expressed in post cards of panama hats.

Later, innovative performance outdoor gear created by San Francisco Bay Area companies Sierra Designs and The North Face became hugely popular street fashion. Stefan did a stint at The North Face as a tent designer and they were an early customer for our panama hats.

When we started, most panamas on store shelves were stiff and fragile. We introduced styles that celebrated the historical beauty and functionality of soft packable panamas. These functioned handily for most occasions but could not survive the extremes of outdoor adventure, so we designed Riverz Techstraw, true outdoor gear that is good looking enough for every day.

And it goes on. Here is a link to an article published May 15 2023 in the San Francisco Standard

"San Francisco is a Fashion Incubator. Yes You Heard That Right" by Julie Zigoris