Bill designs and sells these shirts as the owner of Hero Heads Clothing, a small business he started to fill a gap he saw in the T-shirt market for products depicting inspirational heroes in a classic portrait style.
His first shirt was a birthday gift for a friend that featured Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke.
“It was the great, positive reaction to that and several of our other initial designs that gave me the idea and motivation to explore the artistic concept as a business one,” he said.
The featured heroes span history and time: Rosie the Riveter, Abraham Lincoln, Billie Holiday, Frederick Douglass, Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X and more.
Since launching Hero Heads Clothing in 2015, Bill’s shirts have landed in several museums and memorial gift shops, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, The Museum of Flight, President Lincoln's Cottage, Barnes Foundation, and the FDR Memorial.
Hero Heads Clothing is about more than just making T-shirts; ten percent of profits go to charities that are dedicated to continuing the legacy of these heroes.
“I decided early on to give back and contribute - not just aim for profit. I learned the importance of this volunteering while a student at St. Andrew's, and later serving in the Peace Corps,” Bill said. “Honestly, I felt in my heart that karma-wise it was important that donations for each design go to a charity relevant to that hero and her or his central cause.”
Hero Heads Clothing recently collaborated with theater students at Howard University to design a shirt celebrating the actor Ira Aldridge, with 50 percent of profits set to support student scholarships.
Bill said his time at St. Andrew’s, especially his connections with peers and teachers, have stuck with him as he builds Hero Heads Clothing.
“I learned how to make friends, communicate, be creative, think outside the box, and to try and fail and try again,” he said.
Hero Heads Clothing can be purchased online at heroheads.com
and at festivals and markets in the Washington, D.C. area.