For the uninitiated—StyleLikeU is a website run by a mother-daughter duo, Lily Mandelbaum and Elisa Goodkind. Their channel brings you in depth, sartorial-based interviews with some truly fascinating and stunning people. I first stumbled upon the site over three years ago and was actually, forreal left speechless by the “Closet Interviews” I saw. The website featured people with offbeat, seldom (or never) seen trinkets and accessories at a time when my relationship with fashion was growing deeper and more authentic. Rather than being absorbed into the Fashion world full of homogenous designs, models, patrons, and culture, StyleLikeU changed my course by confirming what I was already beginning to sense—that clothing and style can be as powerful as you allow them to be. I use my clothing to stay connected to my cultures, as an outward reflection of my true self, reminders of my travels, and so much more.
In the past couple of months, StyleLikeU has taken their mission of showcasing unique personal style up a notch by having their subjects undress for them as part of the What’s Underneath Project. The goal in having subjects remove articles of clothing one at a time on camera is to reiterate that true style cannot be bought and furthermore it can’t even be contained to the physical material covering our skins. True style comes from the attitude and all of the back-stories that we carry within our bodies. These stories and memories define our personalities and beliefs, and are what saturate the garments that comprise our styles. The videos in this series push subjects out of their emotional comfort zones, as they have to simultaneously expose their skin and their inner workings through a series of highly personal questions. Discovering that these women and men who share a love of fur and patterns also share the same emotional traumas and triumphs is an awesome, affirming feeling. Not surprisingly, the site has received much deserved attention from mainstream media outlets praising The What’s Underneath Project for lovingly showing women’s un-retouched bodies and cutting through all of the falsities that are so pervasive in the Fashion world.
Much to my delight, StyleLikeU recently announced their plans to turn the project into a full-length documentary film, taking the project on the road and featuring many more interviews with brave and beautiful souls. Check out their Kickstarter campaign and if you’re a fan. Support the people who do stuff you like!