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Elisa Goodkind – surface matters


Elisa Goodkind left the fashion industry at the height of her career (magazine editor/fashion stylist) to raise her two children. After returning to the industry she discovered advertisers had taken over, and personal vision was a thing of the past for fashion stylists. This was the inspiration for her new book StylelikeU (co-authored with daughter Lily Mandelbaum, 21), which is also an online magazine ( that features video portraits of people from cities across the globe giving us a peek into their closets while philosophizing about personal style. If you’re someone who is frustrated, annoyed and angered by the silly rules of fashion, dry land awaits you. The book/video project StylelikeU is a heroic gesture in a world filled with celebrated conformists and sellouts. The fashion industry’s vice-like grip on human consciousness stops here, breathe.

Aureta, featured on StylelikeU

Corey Armpriester- How much do you spend on your wardrobe annually?
Elisa Goodkind– $15,000

Do you shop in thrift stores for clothes?

Is there a common psychological tread that connects the people in your book?
Yes, they have a big need to express themselves visually.

Derek and Nate, on StylelikeU

Can fashion exist without artifice?
Absolutely. Caring about how you appear and interact with the world externally can be and often is very soulful. It is the outer expression of your fantasies, moods, self worth, imaginations, tastes, ideologies, individuality, authenticity, cultural experiences and beliefs.

Wearing sneakers with a suit, ever a good idea?
Yes, a very good idea.

Lady Fag, on StylelikeU

Personal style is dependent on?
Being conscious and in touch with who you are.

Is personal style an intrinsic quality?
Partly, not always. It can be learned and cultivated and awakened.

How many years did it take to complete the book StylelikeU?
Less than one.

Liza Thorn, on StylelikeU

How do you approach people on the street to participate in the StylelikeU project?
We tell them that we would like to feature them because of their exceptional style and ability to influence culture. We stop them everywhere and anywhere.

Can fashion or personal style attain art status?
Yes, great style is an art. Fashion designers, fashion photographers, fashion editors, fashion stylists, hair and makeup artists, they are artists at the higher levels.

Terence Koh, on StylelikeU

How important is the role of the fashion photographer to the fashion industry?
Very important because they are shooting all of the advertising campaigns and editorials. They are the ones that determine the models, hair and makeup and styling tone.

I get the impression you are attempting to subvert the fashion industry, fashion being about the collective, and personal style being about the individual. Have you become a rogue stylist?

Trae Harris, on StylelikeU

Do you think the StylelikeU project is in its small but powerful way desensitizing us to privacy issues?
Not really. Privacy and honesty are two different things. I think that telling and sharing the story of how clothes speak about your life is personal and intimate on one level, but no different than any kind of a candid interview. We are encouraging a certain amount of intimacy but it has more to do with authenticity than the usual surface and overly produced features that lack an ability to make people feel included and inspired when it comes to style and fashion.


Terence Koh

Lori Goldstein (NY)

Hannah Marshall (London)

Malcolm Harris (NY)

Oliver Short & Kira Panfilova (London)

Nick Fouquet (LA)