I met Celina Paiz at the Taking It Offline event I co-hosted a few weeks ago. We immediately hit it off and I was completely inspired to learn about the clothing collection she recently completed which consists of one-of-a-kind pieces made from vintage Guatemalan textiles. Earlier this week I had the chance to visit Celina in her studio and see the gorgeous collection for myself. The colors and patterns of the textiles Celina uses are stunning and it was so fun to talk to her about the Guatemalan textile traditions that live in every piece in the collection. Today Celina shares the backstory to how La Selva came to be.
Funny enough La Selva started in my sleep. The day an earthquake shook New York, I woke up from a full blown lucid dream. I dreamt an entire film, a melodrama about a young immigrant girl who works for a sample maker in New York. Half the movie was in Filipino, a language I don’t speak. In the dream, she has drawers filled with designs but is stuck working as a seamstress. Throughout the movie, her clothing signifies her transformation.
A little back story. I had originally embarked on a self-imposed dream study as part for my screenwriting process. My husband and I have collaborated on film projects since college and I was searching for a way to tap into my vivid dream life to bring it to the screen. So I read Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming and The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. I spent months staring at a blank page and suddenly, overnight, I had my dream movie.
The more I researched the character, the more I realized I was looking at myself in a mirror. I’m an immigrant, born in Guatemala, raised in Miami. Like her, I have a connection to the fashion industry since I own a boutique in Guatemala City with my mom and sisters. While the character had suitcases under her bed crammed with clothing and trinkets from the Philippines, I had a closet of fabrics from Guate that I had spent years collecting. I started to think if the girl in the dream had drawers full of designs, then somewhere in my unconscious, I did too.
I decided to take the leap. I used my vintage fabrics to create my first collection for La Selva. It’s strange to look back on how it all went down but to me the creative process is always like that. As if behind the scenes, inspiration works itself through you until, eventually, you wake up to it.
Check out the full La Selva collection here