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Carmen Busquets

9 AUG 2020

Pioneering luxury fashion entrepreneur, an early backer of e-commerce and humanitarian, Carmen Busquets has always been a supporter of artisan craftsmanship, cultural heritage and innovative technology, and her work has thrived as a ‘laboratory’ of disruptive ideas that continue to drive progress. Her current portfolio of investments upholds the philosophy, vision and principles that have motivated her as an investor, mentor and entrepreneur. Over the years Carmen has also increased her support of charitable causes and educational initiatives, collaborating with a host of global bodies, world leaders and non-profit organizations that share her progressive values. These include the WWF, the Bhutanese government and Royal Family, Latin American-focused non-profits Glasswing International, PACUNAM and Looking for the Masters, the Oslo Freedom Forum which believes all human beings have the right to live with dignity and free of political oppression, and the non-profit Nest which works with over 700 artisan businesses in over 100 countries to generate global workforce inclusivity and improve women’s wellbeing. Carmen strives to contribute to a future of innovative ideas and new levels of consumerism where sustainability will be of utmost importance, quality will prevail over quantity, and where craftsmanship and individuality are celebrated. The aim is that her investments, companies, philanthropic causes and content will inspire many more disruptive ideas, founders, entrepreneurs and investors.

Mannequins wearing Duro Olowu’s designs in DURO OLOWU. From the exhibition DURO OLOWU: SEEING CHICAGO at The MCA Chicago  Feb 29–Sep 27, 2020
Mannequins wearing Duro Olowu’s designs in DURO OLOWU. From the exhibition DURO OLOWU: SEEING CHICAGO at The MCA Chicago Feb 29–Sep 27, 2020
Photo: Oleg Covian
Photo: Oleg Covian

How would you define yourself in three words?
Free-spirited, determined and generous.

A project/initiative you’re most proud of?
I am a member of the World Wildlife Fund’s National Council and one of our highlights of recent years came in 2017, when we successfully delivered the Bhutan For Life conservation project. The project’s aim was to enable Bhutan to become economically and environmentally sustainable, a huge undertaking that required us to form a coalition between the WWF, the Royal Government of Bhutan, the Green Climate Fund, plus several foundations and private donors. It’s a terrific achievement that I am really proud of. Bhutan was the first Asian country where we managed to implement this strategy and we are now working to make Namibia Africa’s first fully sustainable country

  1. Where do you draw inspiration from?
  2. I am inspired by everyone, as we are all connected by the universe. 

Which art/design/style icons you are most inspired by?
Those who are driven by their own individualistic perspective and who don’t follow the rules. Frida Kahlo is a good example.

  1. Which colours are you currently enamoured of?
    Right now, more than colour, I am finding myself drawn to bold and eclectic prints.

A timeless design piece you own?
All of my black dresses. One of my favourites is by Alaïa which I can wear just as easily with cargo boots in the daytime, or with heels when I need to dress up for the evening. 

What’s an accessory you had for ages?
I am a big fan of western-style belts.

What item in your closet do you wear the most?
I have always loved kimonos and kaftans for their versatility. I wear them at home or to go out, in the summer or layered up in winter over pants and a turtleneck. I have some fabulously colourful vintage ones as well as others designed by friends like Duro Olowu.

Photo: Mehalcar Alvarez
Photo: Mehalcar Alvarez
Credit: Courtesy Dr Jackson’s
Credit: Courtesy Dr Jackson’s
  1. The beauty product you can’t live without?

The entire range of natural skincare products by Dr Jackson. A group of friends and I were so addicted to it that we decided to invest in the brand when it was without a founder.

  1. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life?

A few years back, I embarked on a travel expedition with Glasswing International, one of the non-profits I work with, to visit the communities and under-privileged children that the organization helps. The journey – much to my parents’ horror – meant crossing some of the most dangerous parts of Latin America, but there was no stopping me.

What do you miss most when travelling?

Which city would you choose to live in if you had to move?
I left my home country Venezuela in 2002 and I long to be able to return there one day.

  1. What souvenirs would you bring back home?
    Growing up I had the privilege of travelling widely and my sociologist and anthropologist mother instilled in me a real appreciation for local artisans and different cultures’ crafts. This is something that has stayed with me – leading me to support artisans through my businesses and my work as International Brand & Fashion Deputy for the non-profit organization Nest – and over the years I have built up a collection of local artisan-made clothes featuring pieces from my trips around the world.
Photo: Carmen Busquets, family snapshot
Photo: Carmen Busquets, family snapshot

Your latest discovery?
The child in me

What is on your bookshelf?
A mix of books on quantum physics, philosophy and spirituality.

Who is your favourite hero or heroine in fiction?
Neo (The Matrix). I am fascinated by his search for the truth and how he wishes to awaken humanity.

What quote do you live by?
Treat others as you would like others to treat you.

What is your most treasured possession?
My spirt. 

Your idea of happiness?
Knowing how to live in the moment.

Carmen Busquets, Photo by Pedro Santos
Carmen Busquets, Photo by Pedro Santos