What is Raffia?
Raffia comes from a raffia palm tree but is often confused with straw. Although both are natural products, they are very different in both origin & attributes. Straw is the dry stalk of cereal plants such as rice, rye, corn, oats & barley. Since it is a by-product of grain harvests, it is inexpensive & plentiful. Straw is dry, will absorb water & becomes brittle overtime. Straw is stiff & cannot be easily adjusted for fit or shape.
While raffia grows around the world in places like the Philippines and Indonesia, the very best raffia grows in in the coastal valleys of Madagascar. Raffia is also sustainably harvested which means that the plant isn’t harmed during harvesting and can continue to grow and produce.
The main difference between raffia and straw is that raffia has a natural resin in its leaves. This resin gives raffia longevity; It makes each strand flexible and pliant but also wonderfully resilient and slightly waterproof preventing it from cracking and getting brittle over time.
Using the finest raffia along with highly skilled artisans ensures our product retains a uniqueness and longevity – we have ladies show us their 20-year-old hats because the neoprene band has worn away but the rest of the hat is in perfect shape! It’s this natural resilience and longevity that makes raffia so special, and allows us to be creative with design, technique and also create hats that can be rollable and packable.