When asked to pinpoint the moment his passion for design struck flint, Zac Mathias cheerily references a story from his young childhood, when he convinced his babysitter to aid him in rearranging the family home’s living room furniture; to his parents’ great surprise the room was created anew, serving better both functionally and aesthetically – the rest, as they say, is history.
Now a Senior in high school with a thriving Design and Digital Marketing career, combined with his presence on Social Media as a Lifestyle Influencer, the world is Zac’s oyster. TLV caught up with the tastemaker to talk about career-student-life balance, what truly motivates him and what’s next for the up and comer.
Having always considered himself to be determined, Zac certainly has the track record to prove it. Citing Martha Stewart as his inspiration nonpareil, his regular haunts have been design boutiques and local interior shops for as long as he can remember; His confident and cheeky approach usually won him favor with the owners.
“While my mother was horrified at how blunt I was, they would often listen to my advice. I was interning at Dovecote (one of the best stores ever in Westport, CT) in middle school as a store Stylist. Around that point I had begun posting my work mixed with daily life on Instagram; I accidentally became an influencer, which has opened so many doors for me.”
This organically led to the discovery of his inherent knack for PR and Marketing; which Zac quickly realized he could extend beyond the reach of his personal handle. Since then he has added numerous accounts to his book; His current roster includes Pure Barre Westport, it’s sister location Club Sweat Westport, Glowbar (where he will be interning this spring), GoodSam Foods, Modern Picnic and Eye Coco.
An abstract work of art by Fairfield County artist Yvonne Claveloux commissioned by Zac for
What began as a fun way for Zac to share his personal recommendations has developed into a valuable asset he will continue to hone as he grows his marketing career for others and himself. Coupled with his devotion to his clients, he stays rooted in his personal brand “The Classic Chic.”
“It is the person who is unapologetically themselves and always on the hunt for the chicest must-haves – everything from a great pair of shoes to toothpaste. I believe that every aspect of our lives should be chic, and reflect who we are and what we believe in.”
The impetus behind his early success is Zac’s ultimate modus operandi; a vocal advocate who stands for his values and ultimately views his platform as a way of connecting with and lifting up those in his local community and beyond.
“I love giving back and being involved in the future; last June I helped to organize the first Westport Pride. Growing up in Weston [Connecticut], I always knew I was different from the other boys and I wish there had been more of a positive representation of the LGBTQ+ community so I love that I get to be involved in making that happen.”
Zac has orchestrated a harmonious chord between his school and professional careers, recognizing that certain sacrifices are inevitable when building the foundation of the empire he is aspiring to.
“Let’s keep it real, something’s gotta give… and I’m not talking about one of my favorite movies (from both a design point and that Diane Keaton is goals). I am not a straight-A student and I have never wanted to be one. I receive so much joy from my work and ultimately I know that the grind I put into it is what’s going to serve me well in life … not Algebra 2
Leaving no detail untouched, no candle unlit, and no pillow unfluffed, Zac has garnered his reputation from his keen sense of nuance when creating a space. He delights in the thrill of the chase for the perfect assemblage of pieces to create an ultimately beautiful culmination of a puzzle. His greatest reward comes from his client’s delight in his reimagination of their environment; putting himself in their space and allowing them to interact with his vision prior to drastic change is just one of the tricks he utilizes during his process.
“I always love the hunt, and building the room around something a little unexpected that makes a statement, it gives the room direction. I always like to consider both form and function when designing a space – so working through the best possible layout is often where I like to start with a client. I’ll move all their existing furniture around and pull chairs from other rooms to give a sense of what the room will flow like and [let them] live with it for a week before we make decisions because mistakes in design can be costly.”
During a visit to the TLV Showroom, we saw Zac in action, as he curated the onsite inventory to create a beautiful vignette. (Check out the full video on our Instagram!)
Perhaps most importantly, Zac is using his platform to empower others; for him, the content he creates and designs he conceives are about more than a superficial or visually appealing facade: his confident approach encourages others to embrace their own version of chic. Or, as he would say “lead with what makes you happy” Ultimately, Zac represents the voice of a generation, poised and eager to take on the world.
Let’s have some fun!
“Rapid Fire” Questions:
Nars lip oil in shade orgasam, taper candles (they are back and in a big way), and I cannot get enough of Isabel Marant sneakers.
It might be slightly controversial but I believe wallpaper never truly goes out of style… Let’s just not over do it. Also, and I’m totally gonna go against my entire generation, but long live the skinny jean.
Trust your gut – If you like something, no matter what other people say, if it’s on trend or not go with it. Because some of the best designs are created from the un-expected and you might be ahead of a new trend.
Also, choosing pieces that you know you’ll love not just today but in ten years from now too.
No school to start, getting my Pure Barre class in first thing, because I always like to set a little time for myself aside in the day. Followed by lunch with friends and shopping at some great stores (everything from home, fashion and beauty…) and a little trip to the Derm never hurt anybody!
Zac Mathias and Samantha Curtis chat it out at the TLV Showroom.
Click here to shop Zac’s favorite warehouse picks.
Photo Credits: Julia Dags & Patricia Espinosa
Written by: Samantha Curtis