William Palmer Hommé designer Quandell Wright shares how he got started in the fashion industry, his dream collaboration and his 2020 highlight: walking through the Wyoming wilderness to Kanye West’s ranch
By Perry Haselden
Featured photo via @qxwilliampalmer
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your professional background.
I currently live in Dearborn Heights, but I grew up on the East side of Detroit, Van Dyke & Harper area. I’m the Founder/ CEO/ Creative Director of William Palmer Hommé. I fell in love with fashion when I was 8 years old. I started sketching shoes and clothes daily. Fashion became a major part of my life and I never lost sight of my dream.
2. How did you get started in the industry?
Honestly, my wife pushed me to get to the ball rolling with everything. I was always distracted and focused on other things. She really motivated me and helped me see it through. From there I began to do my research about everything, started to create my niche, going out to different events and networking like crazy. After so many no’s and struggling with trying to sell my first batch of shirts, I met Bassem Souwaidan, the owner of [Dearborn-based brand] Al Wissam. He gave me some great advice and showed me a lot of love by guiding me and always being available whenever I needed him.
3. What is the first piece you ever designed/created?
When I was 14 years old I took an old red T-shirt, cut the letters of my name out and [sewed by hand] each letter onto my favorite pair of denim jeans. I used different color threads and everything. Everyone loved it so I felt great about that.
4. What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my Spring 2021 capsule collection, “MiSFiTs,” which will best describe my life growing up as a misfit. I also just became the brand engagement director for Detroit Fashion Community and Premium Talent Agency, based in California, so I’m super excited to get the ball rolling with these two companies.
5. What other Detroit creatives/businesses would you like to collaborate with?
I’d love to collaborate with Deviate Fashion. They are beyond amazing and killing the game right now. I’d also love to collaborate with K. Walker, another great designer I see doing great things. And I have to work with Détroit is the New Black somehow, some way.
6. Can you share some of your career highlights or moments you are most proud of thus far?
I have quite a few career highlights I’d love to share. When Bassem Souwaidan of Al Wissam let me place William Palmer Hommé on the shelves in his store in 2018 I was so excited.
Collaborating with K-Swiss last August on a T-shirt capsule collection called “UNITY” was super dope. I couldn’t believe that K-Swiss really decided to collaborate with me, like, my mind was blown. Plus, I’d love to give a special shout-out to Barney Waters, the CEO of K-Swiss, for being a great guy and mentor.
And lastly, one of my craziest highlights of 2020 is traveling to Cody, Wyoming and walking four hours from my hotel to Kanye West’s ranch. I truly walked through what they call “dead man’s land.” I stood outside the gates of West Lake Ranch holding up two signs stating that I wanted to be a designer intern for Yeezy. His security finally came out to greet me, took pictures, and took the gear I had for him. What an experience…and I was blessed to have this couple stop and take me back to my hotel because I was walking in pure darkness with wolves howling and all.
7. What was your biggest mistake or failure and what did you learn from it?
My biggest mistake was believing everyone was befriending me. What I learned was to analyze people a little more closely, figure out if they’re truly trying to connect and build a relationship with you or that they just see you as an opportunity.
8. How do you find balance between work and your personal life?
Making scheduled days just for family and just for business. To all the creators that have families, please take time to love on your family.
9. If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing instead?
Great question. A nurse or a cardiologist. I’m a former EMT and I loved the rush. But unfortunately I didn’t see it through.
10. What was your first job growing up?
My very first job was working for the city as a Detroit Police Cadet, a.k.a Yellow Shirts. I really took advantage of the free bus rides.
11. What’s currently on your playlist?
My playlist includes:
- Lil Durk – Back Door
- Neno – Hands Up
- 4G Neph ft Vezzo – OVO
- Kanye West – Good Morning
- Kanye West – Champion
- KOTA the friend – Chicago Diner
- Surf Mesa – ILY
- Meek Mill – Quarantine Pack Ep
- HellBoy Rodd ft Rio – Talk Yo Sh*t
- Ariana Grande- 34+35
- Mac Miller – Self Care
- Big Sean – Detroit 2 Album
- Dizzy Eternal ft Neno – Hip Hop
- Michael Franks – The Art Of Tea
12. What TV shows are you currently binging?
“Lucifer” and “The 100.”
13. Three things you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my family, my phone, and my MacBook.
14. Dream vacation destination?
Hawaii. Meditation on the beach as the sun [is] rising is something I can enjoy.
Local Love Questions…
15. Your current favorite local spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
I don’t eat breakfast as much, but when I do it’s usually at home. But I will say that Mootz Pizzeria is my favorite spot for lunch. Shout-out to Detroit Bruce for introducing me to an awesome pizza place. For dinner I enjoy my teenage daughter A’Zaryah’s cooking. She’s our future chef in the family, so eating her meals that she prepares for us keeps me from spending tons of money.
16. Your favorite Black-owned businesses in Metro Detroit?
My favorite black owned businesses in Detroit would be:
- Cato’s Stop and Shop
- Mudd Waters Barbershop & Lounge
- Dose Collective
- K.Walker Clothing
- Détroit is the New Black
17. Your go-to for a good cup of coffee?
I have been to The Narrow Way Café, which is a Black-owned establishment and serves great coffee. They are located in Detroit on Livernois Ave.
18. Favorite thing to do on a weekend in Metro Detroit?
Before the pandemic I just really enjoyed being downtown [in Detroit] in general. Visiting friends, networking with people, and I love hanging out and shooting pool at The Baltimore.
19. What do you love about Detroit?
I probably have a million answers to this question, but to keep it simple and sweet…I love the fact that [Detroit is] evolving into something more great. It’s becoming more diverse and it has more opportunities. We have the best food, and most importantly, it’s my home.
20. Favorite quote or words to live by?
Let’s continue to strive & conquer.