Real Style is About Self-Acceptance - No Matter What You Wear

You are what you wear – or is what you wear who you are?

Sep 4, 2015
StyleLikeU subject Ylva Falk poses for a portrait

Ballerina and breakdancer Ylva Falk describes herself on StyleLikeU as both sexy and disgusting. 

If you’re loud, be loud. If you’re curvy, be curvy. If you like wearing men’s sweatpants paired with a hot pink fur coat, then wear men’s sweatpants paired with a hot pink fur coat. That’s the message that StyleLikeU wants to spread - just be you, regardless of what the fashion industry, TV shows, and celebrity tabloids may define as conventional beauty.

Started by mother and daughter duo, Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum, StyleLikeU, or SLU, is a multimedia platform that honors individuals whose true style is self-acceptance. The team started the movement as a response to what they call, "the increasingly soulless fashion world of unattainable imagery and big brand homogeneity."

SLU invites its viewers into the closets of designers, singers, cancer survivors, bloggers, artists, stylists, musicians, environmentalists and anyone with an authentic personal style. To probe deeper into each subject’s clothing choice, Elisa and Lily use their natural ability to gain the trust of others to find out about their ambitions, influences, inspirations, and dreams. The results are mesmerizing.

Each portrait is a glimpse into the raw, unfiltered inspiration behind each subject’s style. Subjects tell stories of their challenges, difficulties fitting in, childhood aspirations, family history, and feelings of insecurity. The significance of a ring, the history of a pair of shirts, the reason behind dreaded hair – their style tells a story. Fashion is the manifestation of the chapters they cannot verbalize. It’s the means by which they honor their past, emulate their passions, and, most importantly, stay true to themselves.

SLU has also recently launched its “The What’s Underneath Project.” Instead of dressing up for the camera, Lily and Elisa ask their subjects to undress. Through this exercise, the pair has found that “with each new layer of clothing removed, a new truth came to the surface.” The project became a stage for healing and catharsis in the universal struggle for self acceptance. This bold experiment has gained international attention and, as evidenced by the thousands of comments posted after each video, has helped people across the world fully embrace who they are.

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