Founded in 2009 by Elisa and her daughter Lily, StyleLikeU is an online multimedia platform that celebrates individuals who possess an authentic personal style. With a hyperawareness of marketing and traditional standards of beauty because of their backgrounds in the fashion industry, Elisa and Lily seek to shatter misconceptions about personal style, and bring a body-positive edge to StyleLikeU.
One of the site’s ongoing projects is called “The What’s Underneath Project,” and it’s all about literally and figuratively stripping down to demonstrate how garments make up only one facet of personal style. StyleLikeU’s “What’s Underneath” is a series of videos in which Elisa and Lily interview individuals from all walks of life, and ask them to remove pieces of clothing throughout the interview. “We’ve asked a select group of individuals to participate in a project in which they will remove their clothes to honor how style is not the clothes you wear,” explain Elisa and Lily of the project.
One of the most powerful recent segments of the project featured musician and feminist Meredith Graves, who discussed notions of beauty that are forced upon women, her own relationship with her body, and what it means to take up space as a female-bodied person. “It took a really long time for me to realize that it’s okay for me to be who I am,” says Graves at one point during the interview. She also explains that many women subscribe to the idea that they need to constantly be erasing themselves; she notes how the fashion and beauty industries want women to erase their fine lines and wrinkles and lose weight, for example. Accepting her own body involved “Coming to terms with the amount of space I take up in the world,” explains Graves, mentioning how “we’re taught from birth to shrink ourselves,” and that it’s okay to rebel against this social construct.
The interview concludes with an extremely poignant statement from Graves, which is one many women can relate to. She says, “in my body is a good place to be, because functionally speaking I know at the end of the day it’s the only home I’ve ever had and its the only home I ever will have, so no matter how much I argue with it…I have to treat it like my home, and home is where you are supposed to feel the safest.”
As Graves explains, and as “The What’s Underneath Project” seeks to demonstrate, personal style is more than just clothes. It’s the relationships that people foster with their own bodies; it’s about confidence and the journey to self-acceptance and self-love. StyleLikeU is pushing the boundaries within the fashion industry, and providing a platform for individuals to share their stories and their own perceptions of what style is all about.
For more stories about what’s underneath, be sure to visit StyleLikeU.