The classic hat which becomes "exotic"
Do you have a mental image of the typical clothes of Andean people? Great woollen capes and colourful fabrics enwrap them and on the women's long hair, often arranged in jet-black braids, lays a strange hat...that somehow has got nothing to do with the rest of the clothes. What is it? A bowler hat!
The typical felt hat, as British as can be, has been worn for over a century by Peruvian and Bolivian women and it seems that its use, especially with elderly women, is a symbol of honour and authority within the family group and therefore an invitation to other members of the community to show consideration and respect to those women wearing it.But what is the origin of this "fashion" handed down over time? It seems that it came from the bowler hats worn by English engineers and technicians during the construction of the railway network in Peru. The story goes that local women liked the Anglo-Saxon hats so much they asked for them as a presents. The desire to wear them grew so much that eventually there started a local production of bowler-like hats which Andean women wear to this day, giving an "exotic" touch to the colourful tradition of their culture.
(Andean women wearing typical bowler hat are represented in the pictures)