Raquel Buj - Experience | IE University

Raquel Buj

About me

I am from Palencia, a small city north of Spain, but I have also lived in New York and Rome. I discovered early on in life that I need cultural stimuli and to know other artists' sensitivities and ways of understanding life. That’s why I often go to art exhibitions, the cinema or concerts. Contemporary dance is something else I enjoy, as well as going out into nature. While I haven’t studied biology, I’m curious about other species, plants, birds, insects and trees. I also love snorkeling and seeing what’s happening underwater; you have to balance your body and breath while staying calm and respectful, which makes you aware that you’re the stranger in this ecosystem.

shapeRaquel Buj
case2Adjunct professor for the Bachelor in Fashion Design
Raquel Buj - Experience | IE University

"That is something fashion allows you to do—to make decisions during the creative process in a ‘learning by doing’ manner."

Raquel Buj

Experimenting with materials to innovate fashion design

Raquel Buj is a natural-born innovator. Her path may have started in architecture, but she soon discovered that creativity is a transversal skill, capable of driving impact and building bridges between vast areas of design. Passion, curiosity and flexibility—these are just some of the lessons she hopes to pass on to her students in the Bachelor in Fashion Design.

Raquel studied architecture, fashion and design and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in these subjects. However, she got her first big break while living abroad. After spending time in the US researching the link between fashion and architecture, she traveled to Rome where she was selected to participate in an experimental art project. The grant, awarded by the Spanish Royal Academy, allowed her to explore creative ideas “at the intersection of biomaterial research, fashion, art and performance.”

Since then, Raquel’s career has exploded, growing in directions she had never considered before. But through it all, her guiding philosophy has stayed the same: “I first came into fashion interested in reducing the distance that separated architectural ideas from my own body,” she says. It’s this desire to immerse herself so far into her work that she becomes an integral part of the artistic creation process that motivates her craft today. “That’s something fashion allows you to do—to make decisions during the creative process in a ‘learning by doing’ manner.” And by diving into the practical, hands-on side of fashion, she’s finding new, organic ways to close the gap between architecture and fashion.

Raquel’s love for art, culture and nature is clear in her pieces. As the founder and director of the avant-garde fashion house BUJ Studio, she sets the tone for the brand—and the direction she’s chosen places it right at the heart of art, fashion and materials research. Raquel has pretty clear views on her place as a designer and it involves creating a space where “craft, biofabrication and digital fabrication hybridize.” She doesn’t just see her studio as somewhere to create pretty garments or experiment with new technologies and materials, but as a place to develop new techniques and working processes for the future of design. “New crafts always appear from technology and material experimentation in fashion,” says Raquel.

Raquel Buj - Experience | IE UniversityIn class, she tries to instill a similar problem-solving mindset in her Bachelor in Fashion Design students. In fact, Raquel is very excited about the addition of material experimentation into the curriculum—she sees it as the best way to prepare future designers to think outside the box and develop innovative yet sustainable solutions for society. Luckily, her students have a professor ready to guide them through the messy but necessary trial-and-error phase to help them develop a broad, holistic view of materials and sustainability in fashion.

“This program is a unique opportunity to rethink how we relate to the environment, materials and the creative process.” In understanding these elements in-depth, students gain the skills to tell stories, communicate emotions, raise environmental awareness and make a lasting change through fashion. Raquel notes that the program’s focus on sustainability will equip students for the future of fashion, which is already moving past fast-changing trends and overconsumption. This will open up immense career opportunities in paths that involve developing new fashion concepts, spearheading innovative projects and leading multidisciplinary teams. 

But mostly, Raquel hopes to share her love for the field with the next generation of creative professionals. “For me, it’s important to show what I’ve experienced in the making of a piece; to feel something and experience a connection that may be inexplicable but beautiful.”