Willy collects beautiful antiques like furniture and design objects full of texture, grain, and heritage. He and his partner David Ramirez began collecting antiques for their Palmer, Massachusetts house and it soon became apparent that their eye for the heirloom was profitable and sought after. The two now own and operate Palmer Trading Company in SoHo, a menswear outpost stocked with American-made collections of apparel, shoes, and accessories from artisan brands. Willy also works as a design director for American Eagle Outfitters and designed prints and patterns at Ralph Lauren back in the day. He is the kind of creative we venerate around these parts, using his commercial and corporate knowledge to create his own special brand in the world. This year, PTC will launch a new line of denim as well as art collaborations with some choice artists of our time. Willy reminds us that attention to detail is paramount.
Place of Birth: Fresno, California
Parents Place of Birth: Father - Huron, California / Mother - Coalinga, California, Racially segregated, neighboring towns; Father: Mexican/ Mother: Irish
Occupation: Menswear Design
Aspiration: To expand my business beyond menswear while continuing to partner with other artists who want to share the work.
When did you move to NYC and why?: 1999. Design job for Ralph Lauren.
Which neighborhood do you live in NYC and why?: SoHo. It's where my shop is. Thought I'd hate it but it suits my age and demeanor these days.
Name a New York moment: That guy who stars in "Drive" was buying some stuff at PTC and I thought ...hmmm, this guy looks handsome. So I asked if he would model for our web store in exchange for some clothes or something. He just laughed. I later found out he was a big deal.
How do you keep it Mex in the City? Making bad-ass chilaquiles, playing rancheras on Sundays and loving with the Mexican values I was raised with.
Share the best piece of advice a close relative or someone dear gave to you?
"Give thanks for what you have today and fight for what you want to have tomorrow."
What's your drink of choice? Water. Hands down.
What is your favorite song? "I Want to Thank You" by Alicia Myers
Tell us your favorite Mexican expression: Panza llena, corazón contento.
What Mexican do you most admire and why? Cantinflas: Completely original, true to his expression, hilarious with great style.