DVF x Sequence
We believe in empowering women, enabling entrepreneurship, celebrating freedom, and inspiring confidence. We are committed to supporting inspiring women from all walks of life—and Ariela Suster is one such woman whom we’ve been honored to work with. Meet the wonder woman behind the entrepreneurial for-profit organization, Sequence.
For our Spring 18 collection, DVF collaborated with Sequence on a line of jewelry, bag accessories, and belts. An El Salvador-based, for-profit organization, Sequence works in partnership with Vital Voices, an organization that mentors women all around the world. Founded by Ariela Suster in 2011, Sequence employs El Salvadoran at-risk youth, training them in embroidery, beading, screen-printing, and technical computer design skills, with the ultimate goal of curbing violence in El Salvador.
"This isn't about just creating fashion pieces. It's also about personal transformation, about thinking of ways to impact communities and change lives through these products and through this art."
Working in collaboration with our accessories and jewelry designers, the Sequence team created special pieces for our Spring 18 collection consisting of bag straps, bag charms, belts, earrings, and necklaces that are all fabricated from colorful nylon thread.
Inspired by the furniture in El Salvador and the knots found in hammocks, each piece is molded, knotted, and constructed into a different shape and style. And the results are striking, expertly handmade accessories that fit seamlessly into the richly textured, multicolored aesthetic of our Spring 18 collection.
The technique, Ariela explains, is borrowed from traditional hair braiding—the sort you might get “when you go on vacation,” she says. Of the 40 men and three women employed by Sequence, very few are trained with any design background, so learning the technique is no simple feat. Even for those with some creative training, the pieces created for the Spring 18 collection were far more complex than they had made previously. Ariela set up a ‘train the trainer’ model.
“At first, it was truly one person trying to figure out how to make it, and then teaching the rest of the group,” Ariela tells us. “And we had to get our heads around: how are we going to distribute all of the work? But eventually, different teams came together to work on different pieces, and ultimately figured out a line of production that worked for them.”
To create the colorful, rope-like appearance of the pieces, the craftsmen wrap colored nylon threads around a cotton yarn. In addition, the Sequence team were taught how to work with zinc, brass, metal, and leather in order to make the belts.
The Spring 18 Runway
“The moment when the Sequence team saw the pieces on the runway,” says Ariela, “just to see the look on their faces [was thrilling].” It wasn’t just these tangible accessories that made an impact on the runway for our Spring 18 show, but also the message behind them. Ariela’s company, as she explains, “isn’t just about creating fashion pieces. It’s also about personal transformation, about thinking of ways to impact communities and change lives through these products and through this art.”