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Liz Tilatti, ’13, is the cofounder and CEO of Chicago-based ZipFit Denim, an online denim retailer that uses a mathematical algorithm to help customers find the right fit in denim for their body type. The unabashed math and economics geek (her favorite book is a calculus textbook) is inspired by everything from Van Gogh to a famous mathematician.

Artist: Vincent van Gogh

He can show emotion in one brushstroke. If you look at the faces of the people in his paintings, the amount of detail from just one stroke is incredible.

Photo of Liz Tilatti
Liz Tilatti, ’13

Artistic Medium: Painting

About 10 years ago, I tried to replicate Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night. You have to be in a creative mind-set to actually paint. I have another painting that I have been working on for three years.

Design: Furniture

I love building. It’s fun to put things together. I learned about wall construction to build the fitting rooms for our pop-up shop, and that was the foundation for a lot of the building skills I learned. It’s very structural and mathematical in process. Now I have a man at Home Depot. I made our dining room table and coffee table at home. I don’t have a fear of failure. When I’m building something, it’s just like building a company, I think. You figure it out along the way, and it’s not going to be totally perfect.

“I don’t have a fear of failure. . . . You figure it out along the way.”

— Liz Tilatti

Country: Italy

Italy is my favorite country. I lived abroad in Siena, in Tuscany, for about a year and learned to speak Italian. My husband, Michael Tilatti, ’16, is half Italian. We met at a Booth mixer at a Chicago Bulls game and spoke to each other in Italian for two hours that night.

Foods: Middle Eastern and Mexican

I am gluten free, which eliminates a lot of breads, making Middle Eastern and Mexican easy to eat. It’s been about four years since my doctors told me to go gluten free, so I did and feel significantly better.

Photo of Liz's cat Euler
Tilatti's favorite calculus book inspired the name for her cat, Euler. Photograph courtesy of Liz Tilatti.

Animal: My Cat, Euler

He’s named after Leonhard Euler, the famous mathematician. I opened my calculus book and started reading names out loud to see what name he responded to. He weighs 18 pounds. I taught him how to play fetch with a hair tie.

Designer: Byron Lars

I love his dresses. They are unique and professional.

Ancestry: Egyptian

I’m half Egyptian. My father immigrated to Chicago when he was 30. He was a nuclear engineer and didn’t speak English, so he interviewed in German. Egypt is a part of who I am and makes me a little different. No one can tell when they look at me. I get asked, “Are you Italian?” I don’t ever get asked, “Are you Egyptian?”