Meet Dakota: The brains & beauty behind SKYE & Staghorn

Known for its fusion of sleek designs, mix of quality fabrics and bold colour pallets, WA label SKYE & Staghorn has cemented itself as a leader in the Australian swimwear industry. 

Beach Luxe recently caught up with the brains (and beauty) behind the brand, Dakota Gilbert, to chat all things swimwear, work-life balance, and European Summer escapes.

We absolutely love the new Forbode Resort 18 Collection. It’s filled with so many beautiful bright, bold colours, textures and interesting shapes. What was the inspiration behind this range?

It’s actually my favourite collection yet! I really love our leading print, Forbode, designed by a London based artist – Tom Abbiss Smith – who draws inspiration from nature, music and urban environments. Standouts for me are the Gracie Bandeau and Elle Essential pants in Forbode, The Zye and Alix Tie Down full piece in Papaya and our of course my signature ‘Dakota’ one piece in the Deep Aubergine.

 'Forbode' by Tom Abbiss Smith

Skye & Staghorn Forbode Range
Pictured: LEFT: Gracie Bandeau in Forbode RIGHT: Dakota Plunge Full piece


We’ve been following your latest travel adventures through Europe (you lucky thing!). Where was your favourite vacay spot and why?

I absolutely loved Paros in Greece! It’s a part of the Cyclades Islands, located in the heart of the Aegean Sea. It’s such a gorgeous little island with whitewashed sugar houses, paved streets and blue-domed churches, and completely lights up at night. Not to mention, it had the best seafood we’ve ever had!

What are your must-do tips for travellers looking to visit the region?

Sit by the beach, scooter around the island, eat seafood, and most importantly, relax!

You certainly looked relaxed on your trip! What are your top 5 essentials for a relaxing Euro Summer escape?

First thing’s first – sunscreen! It’s hard to relax when you’re red raw. Then of course a SKYE & Staghorn Bikini. I also always pack a face mask to keep my skin hydrated during my travels. But most importantly, my partner Harry and little girl Zimi, they make travelling so much fun! Oh – and you can’t forget good camera to snap all your memories.

Dakota Gilbert Greek Vacay

Pictured: Dakota wears the Gracie Bandeau in Forbode (pretty much 24/7) whilst holidaying in Santorini, Greece.

What’s your go-to beauty product you simply can’t live without?

Estee Lauder tinted moisturiser with SPF – it’s much lighter than foundation, and the SPF helps protect my skin while I’m out and about all day. 

What are you three top travel tips?

  1. Don’t over plan, it’s nice to go with the flow a little,
  2. Talk to locals so you can find out the best and more traditional places to go,
  3. And remember you’re on holiday - so soak it all up!

Where can we see you checking into next?

I’m off to Bali in a few weeks. I usually go up for work but this time I’m heading over for a nice and relaxing long weekend with friends. I can’t wait!

An asteroid is coming and you have one day left to live. Where would you spend it and what would you be doing?

I’m heading straight for the beach at Rottnest Island in WA. It’s my favourite place in the world and I hold so many great childhood memories there.

What is something not many people know about you?

That SKYE & Staghorn is a small and boutique brand managed and designed by myself and two staff members. I also work from a home office so I can be at home with my little girl, Zimi.

That must be so rewarding! What is your advice to other women out there looking to juggle being a Mum and a successful Girlboss?

Balance is the key with family and work. Sometimes you just have to accept you can’t do it all on your own, and it’s okay to welcome help where it is offered. Kids don’t care about materialistic things they just want to spend quality time with their family. For me, it’s really important to put aside time to play and have fun with my daughter. I also love what I do and it’s nice to keep a part of my pre-baby self. I think without work I would go a little bonkers.

What’s been your biggest challenge in your life, and how did you overcome it?

Becoming a single mum when my daughter was 6 months was probably the most terrifying and hardest thing I’ve been through. But as they say, everything works out in the end and you just have to trust in life.

Skye Staghorn Dakota Gilbert
Pictured: Dakota & adorable Zimi enjoying a splash in Da Adolfo, Italy. 


What was the best piece of advice someone has given you?

Don’t take yourself to seriously. All that matters in the end is you, family and friends.

Was it always designing swimwear for you or what did you see yourself doing fresh out of high school?

I actually started a teaching degree but always had a love for the fashion industry, so I decided to travel for a little while and intern at a few fashion houses. After that I knew I wanted to be in the industry and the rest is history!

What’s the most important thing to remember when buying swimwear?

To buy for your body shape and what you’re comfortable in. And always go for something you know you’re going to get wear out of.

You’re always dressed so effortlessly chic. Who is your style muse?

Caroline Issa – She’s the Executive Fashion Editor for Britain’s Tank Magazine who has left an unfailingly chic footprint on street style blogs worldwide.

What does the future hold for SKYE & Staghorn?

Hopefully more exciting collections – stay tuned ;)

Shop the SKYE & Staghorn range

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