Stephanie Saxton is founder of Saltysea, ethically-made swimwear and activewear which she designs in Athenree and brings to life in Bali.

Saxton is showing her range next week as a New-Emerging Brand at New Zealand Fashion Week.

What does your job involve?
Saltysea is made in Bali by small town artisans using locally-sourced and sustainable materials. Our collection epitomises the spirit of adventure. From the world traveller, to the everyday active lifestyle, our collection honours the natural curves of a woman's body, allowing her to go on life's adventures in confidence and comfort. My job involves everything from design and production through to sales and social media.

How did you get into it?
I'd always had a passion to create something of my own, something I was proud of but also something I could use as a vehicle to give back and do something positive in the world. I've always had a love for comfortable clothing and having an active lifestyle growing up, I found myself wearing activewear 90 per cent of the time! I try my absolute best to live a healthy and ethical lifestyle, so teaming these things together, I was inspired to take the plunge.


What do you like about your job the most?
Seeing people's reactions to the Saltysea pieces, that's an incredible feeling. Seeing people wear Saltysea and speak so highly of it inspires me to continuously strive. Knowing that with Saltysea I can make a positive impact inspires me to never give up, and that's what I love the most.

What's the most challenging aspect of your role?
Fashion forecasting of my business and knowing which colours and styles our customers will best react to.

What's your proudest work moment?
Every step in bringing Saltysea to life has been a proud moment for me. From seeing the samples for the first time and spending time with my manufacturers to seeing people on the streets and beaches wearing Saltysea with confidence. It's been such an incredible feeling, and now to be a part of New Zealand Fashion Week as one of the New-Emerging Brands — this will definitely be a proud moment, I am so excited about what's to come.

Stephanie Saxton's ethically-made swimwear and activewear hits the runway. Photo / Supplied
Stephanie Saxton's ethically-made swimwear and activewear hits the runway. Photo / Supplied

What are swimwear trends for this next summer?

We're definitely seeing more of an influence from overseas coming into New Zealand, and our Ulu Suit consisting of a cheekier cut and bolder prints we feel are on trend for next summer. I personally feel it's also a reflection of a more positive body image we're seeing here in New Zealand. It's very important to say that swimwear doesn't have to be scary.

Previous society has portrayed a cut to be something sexual and frowned upon whereas I've designed the Ulu Suit to purely honour the natural curves of a woman's body and celebrate the fact that every body is beautiful and there is nothing to hide. Obviously there will always be people that don't agree with these types of cuts but I've had an amazing response from women that would never have worn a suit with this cut before and have gained confidence because of it.

What will you be showing at NZFW?
Everything in our collection as well as a few new pieces I've been working on.
It's also important for me to mention the people I'm collaborating with for Fashion Week.
I am grateful to be aligning Saltysea with Matt Bear, Kiwi founder of BearBones SurfCo from Mount Maunganui.

Matt has hand-crafted a custom surfboard for Saltysea's runway show. The other brand we are collaborating with is Zoe, designer and jeweller of Caja Jewellery in Wanaka. We've also just gone into collaboration with Birkenstock, which will supply jandals for our runway at NZFW.


What's the best career advice you've received?
To stay true to myself and the values I've set for Saltysea.

• Girlboss stories also appear on NZME's career hub,, where you will find more career inspiration.