Designer Ariela Suster On Sequence, El Salvador and Marc Jacobs Dreams

Peter Davis

Even if the sun is late in shining this Spring, I'm already soaking up bright colors in my wardrobe and preparing for a hot, hot haute summer of Bohemia Luxuria, my favorite style (a little hippy, a lot of fashion). The perfect bracelets for guys, gays and mostly girls is Ariela Suster's label Sequence, which is all hand-made in her home country of El Salvador by local artisans. Not only is Suster helping the economy in El Salvador, she's also making bags, bangles and DayGlo jewels that guarantees that I will win any wrist war come beach days in Montauk. I met Suster for cocktails to talk about the Sequence style, El Salvador and her Marc Jacobs style crush.

After working in magazines, why did you want to start Sequence?

The inspiration came from a sequence of events and experiences that brought me to this point. I wanted to develop handcrafted products but I also wanted to make sure they were made in El Salvador where I'm from. I also wanted it to be something that would positively influence the lives of people in El Salvador, especially young people with unknown futures. 

Did anything particular inspire your line?

The inspiration for the line, especially for my first collection, was very much about illustrating my personal journey, and the influence of growing up in El Salvador blended with my experiences and living in New York.

Where do you make the jewelry?

It is all made handcrafted in El Salvador by a group of young artisans. This venture into jewelry began when I met a young boy named Oscar, who was selling his products on the streets in El Salvador. We met and began an incredible journey. I traveled almost everyday to his home, located in the outskirts of San Salvador. This project brought together a group of almost 15 young artisans, who were all struggling to find jobs and most of them had dropped out of school at the sight of no future job opportunities. I decided to create a small workshop not only to create the SEQUENCE jewelry collection, but to teach younger girls and boys the art and craft.

Tell me about your background.

I grew up in El Salvador and moved to the United States for College. I attended Skidmore College where I studied psychology and dance and then moved to Boston to do a Graduate Program in marketing at Harvard. After school I moved to New York and started my career as an intern at Harpers Bazaar, then a fashion assistant at Lucky Magazine and then went to Instyle Magazine, where I was the Fashion and Accessories Editor for five years.

Where do you see Sequence in five years?

I'm planning on continuing to grow the line into more categories, beginning with a focus on accessories, then venturing into apparel, while mixing handcrafted fabrics and color. I eventually will be tapping into homeware. I see Sequence bringing major change and new opportunities to young people living in risk communities in El Salvador. I am starting to develop a program of workshops with young artisans creating my products. I would love, also, to collaborate with other designers, and create an exclusive capsules of jewelry to have in their stores and runway. My dream would be a collaboration with Sequence jewelry and Marc by Marc Jacobs.

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