Meet Susu: A Brand that Bridges the Gap Between Accessories and the Ancestral Art of the Indigenous Wayúu

SUSU Accessories Handmade BELatina

The indigenous women of the ethnic Colombian Wayúu group use their love, soul and technique to create unique, impossible to replicate and eye-catching handicrafts in partnership with SUSU Accessories, a sustainable lifestyle brand with a Fair Trade philosophy. Working with nearly 350 Wayúu knitters for around 40 hours of work, the brand offers vibrant patterns and the highest quality craftsmanship in one of-a-kind and exclusively designed handbags. 

Founded and operated in La Guajira, Colombia (Peninsula in the northernmost part of Colombia and northwest Venezuela) by Zulima Anaya, Nadia Roberts, and Laura McMahon, SUSU Accessories mission is to forge strong bonds in the communities where they work. “We have three workshops in La Guajira. We employ people that help us manage the production over there. That’s our center,” said McMahon to BELatina. “So every time that we produce a new collection, we go there, they [the artisans] get to see the designs, gives us their feedback. It’s kind of like a collaborative process,” she added.

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The Wayúu knitting technique and tradition is almost as d as the tribe itself. Incredible skill, patience and math are only a few of the qualities Wayúu artist posses in order to create their masterpieces. 🌵 Like with most beautiful things in life, their craft has been copied, plagiarized, underpaid and under recognized. The challenge today is to make sure these Real Life Artists get the credit, recognition and compensation they deserve. 🌵 By buying certified Fair Trade products like SUSUs, you not only are buying he real thing and a product of the highest quality, but you are also validating the work of the Wayúu artisan and their right to provide for their families. . . 📸 @juan_imago #shopfair #slowfashion #sustainablefashionblogger #laguajira #wayuumade #buyfair #buyoriginal #originaldesigns #susubags #saynotocounterfit #handmadehandbag

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Using a combination of cotton, sostenible leather, canadian thread, and other eco-friendly materials, the Native American artisans construct authentic purses and clutches using their intricate, traditional and historical technique, Wayúu Crochet. “Our product takes us time to make,” assures McMahon. “They are actually very intricate. Is their actual tradition, something that go down from generations in their families and, you know, we wanted to honor that. So that’s why we work with them.” 

Besides Colombia, SUSU Accessories headquarters in the US, is located in Chicago. According to the brand representative, the response of the consumers in the United States and the rest of the world have been very positive. “People are now, not only in the US, but all over the world because we ship everywhere. Like our biggest market is in China and Thailand and people are actually more conscious nowadays. Our biggest customers just don’t want to have the same, you know, brand name, everybody now wants style and functionality.”

SUSU Accessories Wayu Weaving Modern
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The handmade brand also partnered with The Guild, a pop-up store for small business owners that offers to the conscious shopper anything from high end fashion to home decor products. Located at 1445 West Webster Avenue, Chicago, IL on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, the shop is the perfect space to purchase the Wayúu creations while having a good time. 

McMahon also revealed that the fall-winter collection is in process and will be available on September 10.

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