Elisa Goodkind left the magazine world to raise her two children and returned to the industry a few years ago–only to become quickly disillusioned. Gutsy expression and exuberant spreads had been replaced with marketing agendas and celebrity-obsessed editorials. Determined to bring some verve to today’s fashion scene, Goodkind joined forces with her 20-year old daughter Lily Mandelbaum and launched Style Like U, a website that spotlights individuals with exceptional personal style and peers inside their closets and creative milieus. “These are the people who fascinate us,” explains Mandelbaum, “and we’d never see them in a magazine.”
The site combines Goodkind’s 25 years of high fashion experience with Mandelbaum’s tech savvy and youthful business approach. “We both agree that unique style has been underrepresented for a while,” says Goodkind, “but our tastes are totally different.” Mom is a fan of avant-garde design and lives in Rick Owens leather, while college student Lily favors an earthy So-Cal look. The mix of the two brings an eclectic group of subjects to Style Like U. They’re writers, musicians, fashion aficionados: RZA of the Wu Tang Clan, nightlife sensation Ladyfag, Andrew Mukamal from People’s Revolution and “Kell on Earth”, and Zarzan the wizardly painter.
The mother-daughter duo split the work, including the photography and video interviews with each of their stars. The latter make their site really stand out. “The future of fashion is getting at what’s behind it,” Goodkind says. “The video is key–it offers a complete experience.” Their handheld D.I.Y. ethos keeps the tone casual, and rather candid, with subjects sharing everything from their design philosophies and family histories to their tattoos and beloved fashion finds (like slippers from the 1870s, still in their original box).
The site has expanded with an editorial section and blog. Goodkind and Mandelbaum also plan to move beyond traditional fashion meccas and profile people from around the world. After all, “style,” Mandelbaum says, “has no boundaries.”