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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

How luxury shoe designer Sarah Flint’s fashion journey led her to Nashville

The luxury footwear designer is no stranger to Vanderbilt’s campus or risk-taking as a female entrepreneur.
Sarah Flint
Fashion designer Sarah Flint photographed in her Nashville store. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Flint)

Sarah Flint is no stranger to risk-taking in entrepreneurship. Having launched her designer shoe line at 25 years old, Flint has not been easily intimidated by the dedication and work it takes to make it in the fashion world. This lack of fear led to the opening of her first physical location in Nashville last spring. 

Why Nashville as the location for the shoe brand’s first physical location? Flint’s ties to the city and community existed long before initial construction at The Mall at Green Hills.

“I fell in love with Nashville when my sister was a student at Vanderbilt,” Flint said in a message to The Hustler. “[To] me, it felt like the perfect city to put roots down in a more permanent way! From the energetic atmosphere, to the music and food, it’s such an incredible city.” 

Following successful pop-up shops in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Dallas, Flint said the Nashville location offers a new opportunity for her to expand the public’s understanding of her brand and to connect personally with customers. Flint’s eye for detail shines through in the design of the Nashville-specific “Perfect Zip Bootie in Blue Crosta,” as the shoe’s coloring matches the Nashville store’s light blue theme. 

“It’s another chance to brand the Sarah Flint experience. What does the ‘world of Sarah Flint’ look like, and how can we bring it to life not just in shoes and accessories, but in a whole store that represents my design sensibility?” Flint said.

Flint’s journey into fashion and shoe design comes as no surprise when considering her youth and historical familial ties to the design world. 

“I have been fashion-obsessed for as long as I can remember [and am] heavily influenced by my very chic grandmother, who was an artist in Paris,” Flint said. 

After studying shoe design at both Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as exploring manufacturing and pattern making at Ars Sutoria in Milan, Flint entered the world of luxury footwear and immediately sensed gaps that needed to be filled in the fashion industry. 

A sampling of shoes designs by Sarah Flint. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Flint)
A sampling of shoes designs by Sarah Flint. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Flint) (Sarah Flint)

“I wanted to introduce feminine and versatile designs that prioritized comfort and longevity and  bring them to life with the master artisans I learned from in Italy,” Flint said.

Her desire to continue to learn and grow within the fashion industry did not end upon leaving Italy. 

“Every day is a new challenge when you’re growing a brand, and the last decade has seen huge changes [in] consumer [trends]. While our product quality, design point of view and focus on comfort have always been our ‘true north,’ it’s been exciting to try new sales channels and new ways of meeting our customers,” Flint said. 

Reflecting on the effects COVID-19 had on our wardrobes, Flint explained how she continued to grow her brand while shoes and shoe choice became many people’s secondary fashion concerns. 

“Once events and office culture disappeared, the only parts of our wardrobe we cared about was what you could see on Zoom,” Flint said. “Despite the pandemic’s challenges, we persisted by collaborating with peer powerhouses such as ThirdLove, American Ballet Theater and Maman Bakery on product launches. As a result, our customers continued to purchase, which is a testament to our brand.” 

Flint encourages students interested in fashion and design to take advantage of any and all opportunities to finetune one’s design niche. 

“Intern, attend networking events, find a mentor, take fashion and business-related courses, learn to sew… anything that sparks creativity,” Flint said. “Figure [out] where you are strongest and hone in on those skills. Believe in what you’re doing and go after what you are passionate about.”

Entering her 10th anniversary year, Flint has high hopes as she continues to expand her brand in the retail world. 

“One of our major goals is to continue supporting and expanding retail. I’m excited to continue to reach our customer base through brick-and-mortar,” Flint said. “We’re also launching a Resort line in December—our first since going direct-to-consumer. It’s exciting to delve back into this category as we wrap up the year.”

If you are interested in seeing Flint’s work in real life, check out the brand’s physical location at The Mall at Green Hills!

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About the Contributor
Sophie Edelman
Sophie Edelman, Former Staff Writer
Sophie Edelman (‘24) is studying cognitive, child and educational studies in Peabody College. As the former Music Correspondent, she is passionate about expanding coverage of local musicians and performances. She loves fish tacos, thrifting and working at Vanderbilt’s Acorn School! She can be contacted at [email protected].
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