Casa Muza Preserves the Latin Culture
Often purpose can become lost in the chaos of the fashion industry, so it is refreshing to see a brand that still has meaning behind its label. Casa Muza, a sustainable clothing store created by visionary and self-taught designer Polet Guzman, has shown us what this looks like.
Guzman, a Puerto Rican native, started out by designing her own accessible t-shirt line. Over the years, she began to branch out into designing her own clothing line, curating vintage pieces, and establishing a platform to empower women. Specifically, with Latin designers.
“I want to give back to the Latino community, especially Latin women, because I know our struggle and our passions,” Polet asserts. “I come from Puerto Rico, and our sense of community is very deep; I help the Latin designer because I believe in their talents and I am aware that I have a voice for those who don't.”
The store is arranged in a manner in which emerging Latin designers can create and showcase their “wearable art.” Designers that Guzman represents in Casa Muza are Luiny, Cordillera, Only Child, Skin Onion, Tropical Depression, and Dee Serret. She also designs her own line called I Love Muza. All are established by Puerto Rican creatives, and each produces beautiful pieces.
Additionally, sustainability plays a significant role at Casa Muza. Recently, Muza and Skin Onion were recognized in Nylon as two Puerto Rican designers who focus on sustainability. Since Hurricane Maria transpired, the island’s electricity has diminished significantly and caused a mass exodus of the population.
“There’s a new motivation to restore their home, not only economically, but also aesthetically,” Guzman says.
Greatly motivated by their homeland, Guzman and Mejias feel compelled to ensure the business decisions and morals that they set for their brands allow them to utilize their resources ethically. Skin Onion will be partnering with Retazo, a Puerto Rican fashion platform that focuses on education, product development, and sales to steadily become a go-to for top-tier and local brands.
Recently, Guzman made an excursion to Guatemala, where she successfully began to expand her handmade line. She will be partnering with a co-op factory there, and in turn, she will be able to make even more conscious business decisions now that she will no longer be sewing each piece of her line by herself. Plus, the garments for the new line consist of 100% recycled fabrics and natural dyes.
“In the beginning, I was making clothes to empower women. Now I’m helping this community and creating jobs for people,” Polet states.
Guzman is a proud Latina woman, and it shows in the community she has built. She has encouraged other Latin designers to embrace who they are, while giving them a platform to illustrate that pride.
Visit the store at 83 Hester Street to experience the charm of Muza for yourself.