Sloane Sexton ’21 on the joy of self-expression and a commitment to being fearlessly yourself

student with aqua water and purple flowers

In eighth grade Sloane Sexton sewed herself a pair of pajama pants. Having not touched a sewing machine since then, during quarantine she sewed her sister a bucket hat, learned how to crochet, and bought a vinyl cutter and began to overlay clothes with her self-created designs.

The embodiment of joy in self-expression, Sexton is bursting with passion for the art of design.

A senior studying Communications Design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, she hasn’t always known design as the work of her life. From Center Valley, Pennsylvania, both her dad and stepmother were doctors and she grew up believing she wanted to pursue a similar medical path.  But when she took a graphic design class in high school, she fell in love with a field that channeled her artistic talents and immediately decided to pursue design as a career.

Since her studies began at Syracuse, Sexton immersed herself in a world of creativity and ingenuity. Last year, she and her classmates created an exhibit commissioned by the United Nations to showcase the Sustainable Development Goals for the 2020 world exposition in Dubai. She collaborated with interior design majors to create an exhibition space that told the story of the UN’s progress towards development throughout history. For her, this project is just an example of the capacity design has to create impact in multiple fields- whether that’s humanitarian, political, cultural, or corporate.

“Designers get put into a box of making posters for music festivals or making logos, when in reality it’s creative problem solving.”

There’s no doubt that Sexton knows how to creatively solve problems. Her latest project? She’s currently expanding her portfolio as a freelancer, doing projects such as designing pitch decks for L.A. innovators and investors.  On campus she’s the marketing director for Women In Design, spends her free time drawing art and this year- illustrating clothes and selling them.  Her love for the work she does is so deep that even her activities outside school and her free time are spent designing.

“I’m such a creative person that my breaks are still creating.”

Sexton is joining the Syracuse Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars this year as a Global Fellow as lead designer. Her exceptional creative talent and overflowing warmth add joy to our entrepreneurial community, and we at the LaunchPad couldn’t be more excited to welcome her.

She hopes to help entrepreneurs in the LaunchPad understand the importance of design in making crucial impressions in marketing to investors and consumers and help them to create designs that tell their story in the clearest and most aesthetically pleasing way.  Especially in a world that currently exists largely in a digital format, aesthetic presentation often speaks the loudest. 

Sexton’s creativity shines brightly through all her work because through everything she commits to being her authentic self. She hasn’t always been sure that she wants to confine herself to the image she viewed of working in the corporate world- afraid that her dazzling creativity and self-expression might be stifled. But after spending summers at internships in corporate companies, she realized that boldly embracing herself and her ideas made her a more creative designer.

“I can still be my blue-haired, tattooed, crazy, bubbly self, and still fit in this industry. The best design comes from people who are going to be unapologetically creative as possible. “

Sexton’s deep love for the work that she does and her commitment to fearlessly being herself a testament to the fulfillment found in pursuing what we love. The world’s best ideas come from those who chase what enthralls them and live their life expressing their true selves. The LaunchPad is so excited to welcome Sexton and see our own crazy community flourish from the presence of an individual who is so passionately herself.

Story by LaunchPad Global Fellow Claire Howard ’23; photo supplied