Glass talks to Tallulah Willis about Wyllis – her recently launched clothing brand

WHEN LA-based Tallulah Willis accepted the unpredictability of life shaped by mental health, she decided to masterfully craft a medium that shines light to it, while unapologetically advocating to destigmatize it.

Earlier last month, the 26 year-old debuted her clothing brand, Wyllis, combining her eye for fashion and her artisanship in the visual arts to create a wearable medium.
Building an eclectic wardrobe and swapping out pieces were unavoidable in actors Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ household while Tallulah grew up around her older sisters Rumer and Scout Willis, and that passion seeped into her brand. Collaborating with Rachael Finley, Willis took a 14-month journey with an idea and tangibly transformed both self-empowerment and freedom while defining the strength of those words.

By leaning into her vulnerability and reflecting upon the times of her own journey to sobriety, Willis emerged with Wyllis, creating an avenue to express oneself without the need for words. Led by the importance of connection, advocacy and inclusion,  Wyllis promises to serve as a vehicle for unheard voices through its comfort and style.

The brand released its 11-piece clothing line, a range spreading from bright-coloured shoes to printed button-up shirts, using vintage-inspired garments to create a path to destigmatise mental health. Not only is the clothing line curated for adults, but it also includes several pieces for the younger generation, signifying the importance of every voice. Willis talks to Glass about this and working with Loveland Foundation.

Talullulah Willis. Photograph: Natasha Ribeiro-Austrich

You introduced Wyllis as “a smushed-up bundle of everything happening in [your] tiny brain, but now it’s wearable”. As a visual artist, how did you find fashion and clothing to be the best medium to express yourself and your creativity?
Personally I had begun to feel that two dimensional mediums were not leaving me feeling as finished in the work. There was always a draw toward something I could really touch and feel and move around. I dabbled in a bit of sculpture, but because there was this ever-present pull to clothing, I felt like it was something I really needed to explore. Having wearable art really fascinated me.

Regarding fashion, what pieces were you drawn towards when you were younger and how did that change or not change as you grew up and was modelling as well?
I was always drawn to drapey, silky and layered ensembles – what would most likely be described as Grecian style now – but I think I was drawn more so toward the feeling of the fabric on my body rather than the overall aesthetic.

So now I find myself in adulthood gravitating to complete opposite silhouettes. I love architectural construction, particularly in the jackets and dresses. I am primarily influenced by the 1940s.

Talullulah Willis. Photograph: Natasha Ribeiro-Austrich

The clothing line is vintage-inspired. Why was it important for you to choose that era not only artistically but also as an era in which mental illness and health was not widely spoken about why was it important for to explain and educate mental health through that?
I felt that bridging the gap between the shapes of our past and the bodies of today was something that hadn’t been given a lot of energy, and I wanted to be a part of the journey of making that happen. I think that the idea of self-empowerment by way of dressing has transformed through the years, and now we have more freedom than ever in regards to that. To connect with a time period where mental health was highly stigmatized and reframe the iconic looks into a safe, transparent collection felt like a worthwhile exploration. 

The pieces that are online for purchase right now have various phrases along with words such as “empathy” and “dissociation.” Why was it important for you to include these and what other terms would you guide people to when they are trying to learn more about mental health?
I think that empathy is the foundation for so many people who struggle with being very sensitive in our world. Additionally, to be empathetic towards yourself is a huge hurdle I am still working towards, but an incredibly powerful and prosperous achievement. To remember that through the darkest of moments you are not alone was a huge sentiment I felt I wanted to bring to my brand.

Having definitions of MH terms has helped me tremendously in accepting who I am, and how to support myself, so I wanted to create visibility in the hopes of helping others as well. Anyone who can relate to these terms, I wanted them to feel safe to dig a bit deeper on themselves. 

Wyllis highlights mental health awareness and commits to extend that to BIPOC women and girls by donating 10 per cent of the proceeds from its collection for one month to the. How did you get connected with this organsation and Rachel Cargle and can you speak to the importance of uniting both the missions of the Foundation and Wyllis?
At the inception of the brand I knew it was paramount to find an organization, or organisations, to align with. After being introduced to Rachel, and thus her work on the foundation, I was immensely struck by its gravity.

Support and healing should be universal, and I personally know that asking for help is one the hardest and bravest thing a person can do. An organisation focused on providing that support, particularly for Black women and girls is so strikingly powerful and necessary. I am honored they are open to working with us.


Talullulah Willis. Photograph: Natasha Ribeiro-Austrich

I’ve had the chance to see sneak peeks of the bright and colorful pieces that are going to come out next week; Can you give us a little preview of what we’re going to see and a piece that you’re very excited about from the 11-pieces we will see?
It’s a very bright and upbeat collection, it’s not pieces that blend in! I am so excited I think more than anything about our shoes. From the vision in my mind, they came out exactly as I had hoped. Actually even better I think!  

When it comes to a creative medium, collaboration and working with others is significant to the overall vision. Along with Rachael Finley, how did working with other creatives and models bring new perspectives and voices to your vision and what did you learn from that.
I am so overwhelmed with gratitude for the creatives on our team and the minds I get to bounce ideas off of. I am a hundred per cent a collaborator and think feedback is essential for designing. I definitely don’t know the best way to do things all the time, and feel I brought a very low dose of ego to the table so it was quite harmonious process with all of us.

As a Spotify curator enthusiast myself, I was very excited and eager to listen to the Tallulah’s Downtime Playlist that you put out at the end of March that included David Bowie, Devendra Banhart and Father John Misty. If you could add three songs to the mix, what would they be?
I would add Susanne by Nina Simone, Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey by Paul McCartney, and probably one of my sister Scout’s new songs.

Talullulah Willis. Photograph: Natasha Ribeiro-Austrich

 For one of the behind-the scenes video posts on the Wyllis instagram page you had highlighted the importance of self-care and the model had described it as the “steps … to find joy”. What self-care routine do you have by yourself or with family and do you have a favorite place for self-care?For me self-care is a piping hot bathtub, a great fantasy fiction book, a kombucha, and a face mask.

The pieces will also have children sizes. What would you like to tell children who are dealing with mental health in regards to the importance of a support system and also during the times of social media.
I would tell them to never question that they matter, or that their voice matters. To take care of their sweet precious souls and remember that someone’s opinion is not fact. 

What has been the highpoint of your career so far?
Someone wrote me on Instagram telling me that they put on Wyllis when they are feeling low or need to have a reminder that they are safe in this world.

by Chandana Kamaraj

Photographer Natasha Ribeiro-Austrich

All clothing Wyllis