Women In Business: Kathleen Sayler of Sayler Made

Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got into designing swimwear?

I grew up knowing I wanted to be a fashion designer. I spent hours pouring over books about vintage fashion from the library and sketching my own versions. This led me to going to SCAD and getting my BFA in Fashion Design. After graduation, I worked in NYC for a few big corporate brands in Production and Fabric Research and Design. I had a really hard time wrapping my head around the textile waste and murky ethical manufacturing practices of the factories hired to create garments. I always knew I wanted to start my own brand and wanted it to be as sustainable and ethical as possible. After moving back to Savannah for the sunshine, swimwear was a natural fit.

You said your designs are inspired by vintage swimsuit silhouettes. Is there an era of swimwear you feel most connected to? In your opinion what are the best and worst swim trends? 

I love the vibrant swim prints from the 80s and 90s. As far as trends go, a French, high cut leg looks amazing on anyone. Bikini or one piece, they’re so flattering on so many shapes. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get behind the low rise, full coverage bikini bottoms that prevailed in around 2012. 

Sustainability is at the heart of your brand. How are your designs made for a better future?

Our luxury Italian ECONYL fabric is made from recycled industrial fishnets that volunteer divers collect from the ocean. It’s also anti pilling, chlorine and sunscreen resistant and has a 4 way stretch that’s built to last. Our manufacturer pays each worker 3x the living wage in Bali. They also receive access to healthcare for their families, an extra month’s salary and an annual profit share. It was really important to me that each person that was part of the process was compensated fairly and in good work conditions. 

How do you stay motivated on days when you’re just not feeling it?

Stepping away for 10-15 minutes to reset helps me. Or going to get a coffee and walking around for a bit

What are you most likely doing if you have free time?

Spending time on the water. Even in the winter, a walk on the beach with friends or my dog is a favorite way to unwind. 

Are there any small daily rituals that help keep you sane?

Regular exercise has always helped, especially during this past year. Either working out or taking a bike ride before dinner is a perfect way to clear my head.

When you’re not in a bathing suit, how would you describe your style? 

Very feminine with tomboy elements. I love pairing a LoveShackFancy dress with a pair of beat up Vans. I love the ease of just throwing on a dress and walking out the door.

What is your favorite and least favorite part about getting dressed in the morning?

My favorite part is accessorizing. I’ve gotten really into headbands and hair accessories lately, maybe because that’s a Zoom proof way to express your style. My least favorite part is the inevitable tornado I end up with after trying on a few options.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021? 

It’s hard to choose! After last year, it feels like there’s so much to look forward to. Hoping to be able to go to a beach with clear, blue water soon!

Favorite poolside cocktail? 

A spicy watermelon margarita or an aperol spritz.

Good shoe or a good bag?

I’m def more of a bag girl. I tend to reach for the same pair of sneakers until they fall apart on me. I was recently given two beautiful straw bags from Morocco and I can’t wait to wear them!

Favorite beach snack?

Pringles, hands down. Salty, with a self sealing container to protect from sand and humidity? Win-win. 

Sunglasses or hat?

Both! Gotta protect the skin and the eyes. I love an obnoxiously big hat that covers my chest and shoulders. 

Who is a boss babe in your life that you look up to and how have they helped you become a better business owner?

I’ve worked with so many boss babes, it’s hard to pick! I feel like each one has taught me something different. I’ve loved getting to know all the boss babes in Savannah, it’s an incredibly supportive community.