The home of the Panama hat – your summer must-have
Nadia Chalfin is the creative mind behind Nadia C, exclusive handmade Panama hats. Sustainable and ethically sourced, hats with a twist. Bringing you the vibrancy of South America to liven up your wardrobe accessories.
When did you first discover your love for South America?
I first discovered my love for South America when I visited Colombia at just 18 years old with my Colombian boyfriend, who I had met in Paris and quickly fell in love with the place. Although since then it has changed so much, the spirit is still the same.
What is it about Colombia that you love so much?
The Colombian people are some of the kindest and happiest people I have ever known. They really know how to live life and you can see this through their artistic talents, colour, vibrancy and music, the way they dance. It is such a passionate and talented country.
What were you doing before Nadia C?
Well, when I returned to the U.K. I studied Fashion, Marketing & Textiles at University, but had a complete career change when I entered the footballing world, one of my other passions in life, scouting footballers in Argentina for British clubs.
So, when did you rediscover your love for South America?
It was following another trip to Colombia, where I unearthed the beautiful Panama hats in Cartagena on the Caribbean coast. This reignited my love of fashion and business once again, and I made the decision to launch Nadia C in 2018. Cartagena where my are hats come from is a total explosion of coloured buildings encircled by a wall which abuts the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. This place is where city meets nature and they come together to dance the perfect vallenato. Whenever I go to Cartagena, I feel my spirit and my passion lift, it is impossible not to.
Can you tell us more about your beautiful designs?
My creations are hand-woven using the traditional method of Panama hat making and are then hand-painted by artisans in Cartagena. The shoots of the toquilla palm are broken open where they reveal a mass of greenish fibres. After they’ve been split into fine threads, the fibres are briefly boiled, then hung out to dry. The hats are then hand woven by our skilled artisans using traditional methods, which have been passed down from their ancestors. Our hats are produced on the Colombian/Ecuadorean border.
We know ethical sustainability is important to you. Could you tell us more about this?
Nadia C principles are also at the heart of my business, with my hats being 100% organic, ethical and sustainable, and 70% of the profits from the project going back to the artisan community. Our hats take approximately 8 hours each to finish, using toquilla straw grown in Ecuador, which is a rapidly renewable resource, that grows and of course straw is totally biodegradable. They should last a lifetime, if taken care of properly. Being weather-resistant, they also provide natural UV protection.
As the founder of Nadia C, what does the brand mean to you right now?
It makes me super happy that years later I have my business production there, it’s funny how life turns out right? It is great also to be able to give back to a country that has given me so much. 70% of the money from the project goes back to artisans that hand paint them in Cartagena.
Can you choose your favourite design from Nadia C or do you love them all?!
I love all of the designs of my hats! It very much depends on where I am going and what I am doing. I love them just as much on the beach with a bikini as I do walking through London with a pair of jeans and a t shirt.
Where is your ‘go-to’ UK staycation destination?
I love the South Bank in London. Strolling along the river Thames mixing with such vibrant cultures and with so many great options in the Latin Quarter. It has more South American bars and restaurants than anywhere else in the UK including awesome Colombian roast coffee and the fabulous La Bodeguita restaurant is a stone throw away.
And finally, what are your summer essentials?
I normally travel with at least 4 hats. My favourite suncream is of course Saltee, the scent is amazing, it absorbs beautifully, and it keeps my skin hydrated and protected all day. I love my OndadeMar bikinis, a good book and a Loewe beach bag, and we are pretty much good to go.
Whatever your plans, enjoying the outdoors with Saltee means you stay protected with unique skincare benefits keeping your skin hydrated and feeling and looking healthy.
Pair your suncare with a beautiful Panama hat from Nadia C and receive an exclusive 20% off with code PANAMA20 at checkout here.
Make sure you visit us on @Salteesun on Instagram to enter our Nadia C x Saltee giveaway here.
Saltee suncare is vegan friendly, cruelty free, paraben free, gluten free and dermatologically tested. Make sure you’re enjoying the sunshine with Saltee this summer. Inspiring dreamy destinations.