We spoke with Polet Guzman, the founder, designer, and artist behind Casa Muza, the New York based sustainable and ethical clothing brand where topical souls meet the concrete jungle.
I grew up on the east coast of Puerto Rico, in a small town called Rio Grande. My first job was as an artisan. I cut bamboo in my hometown and made jewelry with it, and sold it at festivals and schools. I knew I wanted to be an artist since I was young. I’ve always been creative but I didn’t think that girls like me had the opportunity to be something greater than a teacher or secretary so that's what I studied for two years. At that time, I was very depressed and the only thing that made me happy was painting. One day, after being rejected from art school twice, I received the letter that I was accepted. I moved to Old San Juan to start art school in 2008.
After I decided to follow my life path as an Artist, it has been blessing after blessing. From the people I surround myself with, to the opportunities that life has given to me. In art school, I took a sewing class and that is how Muza was born, in the spring of 2010. I self-taught fashion because I saw the potential to impact and help more people with clothing brands. After I graduate in 2013, I move to NY. I opened my store and studio in Lower Manhattan in 2016, I teamed up with a group of people that have been helping me with marketing, production, manufacturing, and sourcing. I have been producing clothing here in NY and in Guatemala. Now, we move to Brooklyn and we are opening our store in Williamsburg this spring 2021
I would say that having a fashion brand is always challenging, but what is important is to overcome the challenges. Those are the wins and that is part of the process. But I would say that one of the challenges was finding the right production house that fits our vision, to be sustainable and ethical, and to meet the timelines. The other part of our win is to help the community in Guatemala with our production, opening our first store 3 years ago, and now moving to Williamsburg to reopen.
It's been a long trip from a screen-printing t-shirt to a full clothing company. It's been almost 11 years of trajectory. With ups and downs but always enjoying the ride. I will say that the universe gives me what I need to keep growing. I have always been open to learning and bringing people with the right knowledge to scale the company.
The story behind Muza is that as artists we are always looking for inspiration, we are always calling the muses to help us create, I saw it as a powerful being, a goddess that inspired us to create the most beautiful song, poem, or a work of art. When I close my eyes, and I think about a muse, I imagine a confident, beautiful woman and that's what I want my clients to feel like.
Is everything. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and my culture is permeated in my work since my brand is a reflection of me.
The slogan “Where tropical souls meet the created jungle”, is a representation of how I felt when I moved to New York. I grew up on an island therefore my soul is warm, calm, and slow. Moving to a big city like New York is the opposite, cold, fast and loud.
Having an environmental responsibility, choosing the right materials and bringing a healthy secure workspace to the employee.
In this upcoming collection, we are using the upcycled fabric from the denim project and the goal is to bring more natural fabrics to each collection.
I don't have a normal routine, some days I have to work on emails and computer stuff, other days are focused on designing and production. But that's the beauty of my work.
I wake up every day grateful, that's my mindset. Every morning, I drink a full glass of water as soon as I wake up, I make coffee and meditate for 10 minutes. From the smell of coffee, buying flowers, falling in love, having a great dinner, to a walk in nature. When I’m not feeling it, I just start sketching or writing.
I see Casa Muza as an established clothing company that contributes to the Latinx community. My goal is to create every piece as a work of art, adding each story, memory, and everything I find in my travels. The big news is that we're opening our store and studio in Williamsburg, NY this spring 2021.