Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum want to take a look inside your closet. The founders and editors of website StyleLikeU have dedicated themselves to seeking fashion inspiration and innovation from the everyday sidewalk to the intimate wardrobes of the visionary people they encounter. Offering a platform for life as art, the mother-daughter duo talk to and chronicle the inner and outer narratives of their oft-outlandish subjects through direct dialogue and rich imagery. Following the recent publication of StyleLikeU’s first book, JC Report chatted with Goodkind and Mandelbaum about how they find their style muses, the importance of confidence and why their subjects are the people we should look to for fashion cues.
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JC Reports: Compared to other blogs, your subjects are more outre in terms of their style choices. How do you source them?
Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum: We find out people everywhere. Our biggest goal is to keep our subjects diverse because style does not come in one size, shape or form. We ask every “muse” to recommend friends of theirs that would make interesting subjects. It has become a big chain of referrals in that respect. We scout muses at interesting events and locations such as flea markets, concerts, skate parks and college campuses. We are currently making an effort to branch out beyond our immediate geographical area to include subjects from cities all around the US, Europe and South America, so expect to see more international muses, as well as those from the heartland of the US.
JCR: What are the characteristic of your subjects?
EG and LM: We look for people who are comfortable in their skin, unique, confident, passionate, open and willing to share. Those who are neither afraid to stand out nor alone. We seek out individuals who look authentic in their clothing, not trying to be anyone other than themselves. Two people can be wearing the same exact outfit but one will stand out to us because of their confidence. They can be completely simple or totally “out there,” but it’s about the person in the clothes more so than the clothes themselves.
EG and LM: It’s completely different for every muse. We love to hear each person’s story with regards to how they dress. For some, it is a uniform. For others, they’re chameleons. Some dress as if life is a stage, while other people’s clothes are completely understated and part of them like a second skin. They are all totally different from one another, which makes it interesting and fresh.
JCR: What’s their role in the genesis of fashion trends?
EG and LM: We feel that the people we shoot are the forecasters of trends because they come to things first. They have the vision and the guts to not blindly follow what society tells them is cool or pretty. They are the innovators.
JCR: What about in the fashion eco system?
EG and LM: They are the pulse of change that corporations want to tap into, to see what’s next, because they are the people who think outside the box and are creators of truly authentic culture.
JCR: Why do you choose to document these style swans?
EG and LM: They are inspiring. Their passion for and confidence in expressing themselves visually (and uniquely) is uplifting and empowering to us when we interview them. We want to transmit that empowerment to others who look at StyleLikeU.
JCR: Who are your most memorable subjects?
EG and LM: Most everyone that we feature is extremely memorable. The most touching are the ones who let themselves be completely raw and open during their interview and share their lives with us without any façade or barrier. Those who open their homes to us for the purpose of sharing and connecting—not for the purpose of gaining notoriety—are the ones that we will never forget.