In my last post, I mentioned Petra Collins’ feature with StyleLikeU. I thought I’d explain a little more about what StyleLikeU is. (Unless you already took the initiative and watched hella of their videos, in which case I think we’re going to be friends.)
StyleLikeU is a mother-daughter team who were inspired to combat the “disempowering system” of todays fashion and beauty standards by “documenting real people with original personal style.”
Since 2009, they have been producing video interviews that discuss and encourage self love, and the results are inspiring.
Their motto is “True Style is Self Acceptance,” which speaks to the idea that while style is an outward expression of who we are, it is what’s underneath that shows our true selves. And not just our bodies, but our personalities, our souls. What we’ve experienced and how it has shaped us.
“Dress to express your inner spirit. Be unapologetically yourself… Embrace your unique identity… Your body is your home.”— part of the StyleLikeU philosophy
In November of 2016, Cavel Whyte, Leonard S. Newman, and David Voss published a study on body image and body dissatisfaction that they began at Syracuse University. They explored the effects of media images on women’s views of their own bodies, and what they found supported what society has been telling us for a while:
“Although an individual’s body image (and satisfaction) is multi-determined, a great deal of research has focused on one factor in particular: exposure to media images.”
This media projection of an “ideal” body type is what StyleLikeU is trying to combat. They interview real, genuine, non-photoshopped people with diverse body types who tell real stories and show us their real bodies.
The What’s Underneath project is a series of video interviews where the interviewee is sat upon a stool in front of a blank wall. As they begin to describe what their style says about them, they are asked to remove one article of clothing at a time until they are left in just their undergarments. At the end of each video, they are usually asked questions like, “When do you feel the most vulnerable?” “When do you feel the most beautiful?” and finally, “Why in your body, is it a good place to be?”
This is the first feature of theirs I watched, the one that got me hooked:
It is different to watch people open up and share honest stories about their past while undressing themselves in a way that isn’t shameful or sexualized (which it shouldn’t be, unless you wanna be sexy ‘cause it’s sexy time). The process is eye-opening. At the end of each interview, you’ve been shown that each person is so much more than what they portray themselves to be outwardly.