zack-bia-interview-01
Highsnobiety / Kevin Amato

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As recently as a year or two ago, asking “Who is Zack Bia?” was a forgivable and frankly common question — a literal and rhetorical inquiry into the nature of celebrity in the age of the influencer. As of 2022, however, it would be the wrong question. Today the 25-year-old DJ, label owner, and it-boy Bia, along with his influential posse — including model and actor Luka Sabbat; DJ, producer, and creative consultant Pedro Cavaliere; and 38-year-old designer and rare car dealer Arthur Kar — represent a contemporary class of creative individuals. Their coree characteristics are symptomatic of their philosophical allegiance to the late Virgil Abloh, whose interdisciplinary career in music and design, DIY mentality, and hypersociability set a galvanizing precedent for a generation of artists and tastemakers to come.

What they represent is the squad, the crew, the collective: a testament to the power of intimate groups with shared visions who can make things happen in an era that is always online and always on the move. Whether adorning the moodboards of menswear obsessives, putting your favorite celebs in a Porsche, or premiering Drake’s new single on Instagram Live, Bia and his friends are at the epicenter of pop culture, a center of gravity that is greater than the sum of its parts. In 2022 the question we ought to ask is: How do they make it all work?

As individuals, the group typifies the platonic ideal of the creator economy: jacks-of-all-trades who can weave their passions into a viable, all-encompassing career — a personal brand, in other words — without having to stick in just one lane. As a group, they represent a wave of collective creativity where social media facilitates community-building across borders, platforms, disciplines, and experiences. Clout is cheap, but collaboration and friendship are invaluable.

Born and raised in New York with intermittent stints in his mother’s native Paris, Bia relocated to Los Angeles in his early teens — a multi-metropolitan upbringing which he credits with nurturing his interest in art and music. “I was always around it,” he tells me on a call from his car on a rainy day in LA. “My mom was always encouraging me to listen to music and watch all kinds of different movies. I had a really creative, curious childhood.” That passion has been paramount over the past few years as Bia rapidly evolved from an events producer to DJ to the founder of his own record label, Field Trip, an imprint of Warner Records.

Like Bia, Luka Sabbat is a New York native who spent much of his childhood in Paris before coming to live and work in Los Angeles. It was there the two met and formed a bond. As Bia recalls, they quickly became inseparable. “We were running around, throwing parties,” he says. “We had this run of years of doing our thing in LA, New York, and Paris.”

It was in Paris that their relationship developed with Arthur Kar, the Beirut-born automotive aficionado for whom Paris is home as well as the headquarters for his business, L’Art de L’Automobile. “Arthur’s like our big brother in Paris,” says Bia. “We go there, he lends us a car. We go eat with him every day after work.”

Pedro Cavaliere moved to the United States from São Paulo at 18 and has since lived in both New York and Los Angeles. A former protégé of Abloh and A-Trak, Cavaliere helped Bia hone his skills as a DJ, and they teamed up on events as a friendship bloomed. “Pedro is the most crafty,” says Bia. “You could be at a party and the DJ setup will not be working and he’ll be like, ‘Oh, do you need these cables?’ and pull out a six-foot cable out of his back pocket.” Cavaliere, in turn, admires Bia’s go-getter energy. “He has this mentality of just doing things that I don’t have,” Pedro tells me when we speak. “I think this is important. [Whereas] anything that requires physical labor, overthinking, and engineering, he can count on me.”

That their brotherhood is far-reaching in a global sense also speaks to the borderless mindset that Bia and his cohorts bring to their work. They share an understanding of community that transcends distance and bridges gaps. What sets them apart — geographically, experientially, or otherwise — is ultimately what brings them closer together. Kar, the eldest in the group by roughly a decade, emphasizes that they have more in common than one might assume. “I don’t feel like they’re younger, or I’m older. We feel the same. We have the same mindset,” he explains. “I’m not the godfather of the gang [just] because I’m the older one. They’re actually smarter than me about a lot of different stuff I barely understand, and they teach it to me.”

“There’s a synergy in interests, but everyone has their own individual approach,” says Bia. “With these different mentalities, we motivate each other to always be improving.”

As Cavaliere explains, they are united in ambition. “We’ve come from many different places and see the world with different eyes, but we all care for our future,” he says. “We all as a group think it’s not only possible, but [that it’s] our mission to make the world a better, cooler place.”

That mission is what provides a framework for the VIP parties and the Porsches, but Bia is adamant that decadence itself is not the reward. “Amongst all this glittery, shiny, glamorous stuff, what really matters is just finding people who you really enjoy being around,” he says. As he points out, the club is ultimately a cultural space, a venue in which to meet people and to stoke excitement about music. “To me, it always comes down to the music,” Bia says. “Seeing the different waves amongst one common room of people, seeing what brings them together.… It’s a privilege to be a part of it, to lead it.”

Cavaliere echoes this emphasis on curating joy. “I DJ because I want to see people happy. I want to cater to people,” he says. “Community is fundamental to who I am as a person and everything I do.”

If community is predicated on shared values, then the tentpoles of what Bia and his pack are cultivating are curiosity and collaboration, as well as accessibility. For Kar, a former mechanic who grew up washing and working on cars long before he got to design them, the journey is essential. “Everything I do is because I want to show that person when I was younger who told me it’s not possible, it’s possible,” he says. “I want the kids who see me in the street driving a nice car to get inspired and be like, ‘I’m going to do that, too, in my own way.’”

Both Kar and Bia reject the notion of gatekeeping or hierarchical thinking. “Some people will get mad if a new kid comes around trying to do something,” says Bia. “And it’s like, no, we were all that person at some point. We’re still those kids.”

Bia acknowledges the responsibilities that come with his growing status. He has made a personal oath to preserve his earnest enthusiasm as a music fan (he speaks effusively when talking about discovering new artists), and considers it his duty to empower other creatives through his work. These are the guiding principles Bia and his crew inherited from their friend and mentor Virgil Abloh, whose generosity with knowledge and fanatical reverence for youth culture were vital pillars that now characterize his legacy.

“He laid that approach onto us: to continue to build community, continue to uplift,” says Bia. “It’s about making sure that the doors he kicked open remain open for everyone, realizing that there’s room for everyone to win.”

As Bia, Kar, Sabbat, and Cavaliere advance in their pursuits both individually and as members of a special group, the torch they carry is intended as a light for others to make their own way. You may or may not be rooting for them, but they’re rooting for you.

Head here to get a copy of the new issue of Highsnobiety Magazine.

  • Photography:Kevin Amato
  • Styling:Ashling Massoumi
  • Production:Taylor Brown at The Morrison Group
  • Grooming:Esther Foster using iS CLINICAL and Dior Beauty
  • Retouching:Elise Bonilla-Myers
  • Photography Assistant:Korey W

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