Ariela Suster of Sequence
THE STORY OF SEQUENCE
Remarkable Ariela Suster—a former fashion editor who worked for glossy titles including Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, and Lucky Magazine—founded her company, Sequence, in 2011. An El Salvador-based, for-profit organization, Sequence employs El Salvadorian at-risk youth, who would otherwise most likely end up in gangs, with the goal of curbing violence in El Salvador. It’s a story as inspiring as the pieces are beautiful, and one that’s close to Ariela’s heart.
Growing up in El Salvador during the Civil War, Ariela experienced the pervasive violence firsthand when her younger brother was kidnapped at the age of 16 and held underground for a year. A senseless act, the kidnapping ultimately inspired Ariela to disrupt the cycle of violence in her home country. “The kidnappers had already taken over a year of our lives,” she says. “I made the decision that [I wasn’t going to be] a victim; [the kidnappers] weren’t going to take the rest of our lives.”
Sequence works in partnership with Vital Voices, an organization that trains female leaders all around the world, and of which Diane von Furstenberg has been on the board for over a decade. At the Vital Voices Annual Global Leadership Awards in March 2017, Diane met Ariela, a fellow of VV Grow, and, after learning about her incredibly moving story, proposed they work together. “When I met Diane, it was an immediate connection,” Ariela tells us. “Diane instantly started thinking about different ways to empower me and Sequence, and to facilitate and develop what I was doing. With her and the company’s help, we’ve really been able to create a lot of social change in El Salvador.”
It takes immense courage to spearhead the work that Ariela has done, and already, the impact she’s had on the lives of so many El Salvadorans has been prodigious. Sequence now employs 40 men and three women—most of whom neither come with a background in design nor consider themselves to be artisans. “But they do have the talent,” Ariela says. “I just awakened that [talent] and [brought them] opportunities.” And if the pieces they made for our Spring 18 collection are any indication, the quality of their work speaks for itself. What made this collaboration particularly harmonious was not only the Sequence team’s expert level of craftsmanship, but also the colorful and lively quality of their pieces, and their deep appreciation for textile design and travel.
“We’re not just about creating fashion pieces. We’re also about personal transformation, and changing peoples’ lives through this art."
To begin, Ariela collaborated remotely with our accessories and jewelry designers on the overall concept and design for each piece. A back-and-forth communication process allowed them to ensure the highest quality possible. Consisting of bag straps, bag charms, belts, earrings, and necklaces, the Sequence accessories featured in our Spring 18 collection are all fabricated from nylon thread—a seemingly unremarkable material, but one that Ariela’s team skillfully transforms into elevated, striking pieces.
Shop the DVF x Sequence collection on DVF.com here.