I have followed StyleLikeU for nearly 4 years now. I discovered them in my first year of university and proceeded to watch their entire back catalogue of short films (if you haven't ever scrolled through their website get to it now!) Their films are short but sweet portrayals into various people's experience of clothing and more specifically style. They launched their What's Underneath campaign last year and it's gone from strength to strength. Having secured kickstarter funding to make a film about the project they are now reaching out through instagram to ask what's underneath.
As part of their campaign I was contacted by them recently and asked what does your style say about you and what assumptions do people make about you based on your style? so here is my response. You can share your own story via Instagram using the #IAmWhatsUnderneath tag.
I have always dressed in a expressive way. As a child I favoured exotically patterned and coloured items: leggings dotted with fish, a jumper with brightly coloured diamonds, spotted pink swimsuits. My mum always encourage my brother and I to dress up. We had an elaborate dressing up box filled to the brim with the remnants of various members of her friends' wardrobes. Including Sari's, 1930s ball gowns and medieval costumes. I was fascinated by the embroidery and texture of the garments. My style now is really just a continuation of that early love. Studying fashion history at Central Saint Martins only furthered my love for history, textiles and clothes. I remember on my first day wearing an outfit inspired by the Russian Tsars. The reference was lost on almost everyone but to me that doesn't matter. I dress for myself, the pleasure of putting the garments together into a story or character is enough. It's taken me a long time to reach such a comfortable place with dressing this way. As a teenager I spent years trying to conform. I wore all black for about 7 years, which seems so crazy now but I was so scared to stand out that I thought that was the only way I could survive at school. I dyed my hair and wore clothes which now make me recoil but at the time I was terrified that my upbringing filled with colour and art made me weird and unapproachable so I gravitated to the extreme opposite. When I left school I started to realise that conformity didn't equal comfort. People are often horrified by my style. British people are particularly scared of 'too much' colour or print; it's deemed garish and unrestrained. Equally I have as many people tell me that I've brightened their day. I see wearing colour as uplifting. I've struggled with depression in the past, colour has been the single most useful thing in changing my outlook. I don't just extend it to my clothing but my home too. All I hope is that my use of colour will touch one person and make them have a more cheerful day; even if it's just for a second.
Two piece suit - made by my mum using vintage fabrics, Penny MacBeth
Printed top - years old Topshop
1970s wooden hand-painted beads - Charity Shop
Turquoise tassel earrings - Heather Finn Knitwear
Felt hat with faux flowers - Penny MacBeth