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2023 Designer Dozen: Connor Matz




2023 Designer Dozen: Connor Matz
Connor Matz
Age: 28 | Visual Director of Windows and Interiors, Saks Fifth Avenue
Favorite TV Show or Movie: Anything with Jennifer Coolidge
Favorite Time of the Year: Fall, right when the air turns crisp


Kicking off his career in visual merchandising supporting Michael Kors’ mid-Atlantic region stores, and now overseeing both visual teams for windows and interiors at Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York flagship, Connor began with the department store retailer more than eight years ago. Originally at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Tyson’s Corner store, Connor led visual teams in Philadelphia and in Boston before moving to the Big Apple. He recently oversaw the creation of Saks Fifth Avenue’s 2022 holiday windows, through which the retailer partnered with the Elton John AIDS foundation. Three dedicated windows highlighted exclusive products as well as custom Gucci tour costumes from Sir Elton John’s personal archive.

Mentoring is an important component to Connor’s career, “…nurturing emerging creative talent is so important, and some of my favorite moments are when I can connect with upcoming graduate classes based in New York and around the country to share insights from my journey and the overall industry,” he says.

Luis Guillen for Saks Fifth Avenue, New York📷: Luis Guillen for Saks Fifth Avenue, New York

How did you get into visual merchandising?

Like many, I stumbled into the world of retail accidentally. I quickly fell in love with the world of visual merchandising and wanted to work towards a path of growth for myself in the industry. To have a role that marries my love of fashion along with my background in design and appreciation of fine art is incredibly meaningful to me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Having the ability to develop and work closely with a team of creative talent has been beyond gratifying. Each day and every project can feel different, and to create alongside others that are passionate and committed to driving excellence inside of a very dynamic environment is a deeply rewarding experience.


What’s the biggest challenge you face professionally?

Often, I find that the biggest obstacles we face are the ones that we create for ourselves in our own heads. With each project comes a better understanding and learning of how to manage my own expectations. Taking the time to be assess challenges, remain objective and forge alternative pathways to solutions is vital in such a rapidly evolving environment. In a world where every priority can feel equally important, taking a beat to isolate the true areas of opportunity that matter most and really move the needle can make all the difference.

Describe a recent project that you were involved in.

This past holiday season, we kicked off a spectacular holiday window unveiling with a performance on Fifth Avenue by Sir Elton John. Bringing all 26 of the flagship store’s windows to life with the team was a true honor and highlight of my career.

My favorite outside-of-work activity is…

…gallery hopping on the weekend.

Carly Hagedon is the Editor-in-Chief of VMSD magazine. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where she studied Journalism—Magazine Writing and American history. She also currently serves as a board member for the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).



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