Sunday, May 19, 2024

Meet The Stylist – Fernando Kularatne

Mens Fashion Stylist Sydney

Mens fashion stylist Fernando Kularatne went from working in chemical waste management to pursuing a career in Styling after an epiphany during a thunder storm. Fernando’s passion includes being a fitter at Oscar Hunt and taking his clients on a journey of creating their ideal suit and finding their personal style.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a Stylist and how did you make your start?

My journey to becoming a Stylist was quite serendipitous and doesn’t follow a logical path. I was studying a degree and climbing the ranks in chemical waste management for almost 10 years. I developed a love and interest for tattoos and eventually found myself learning the craft, it almost felt like I had finally found my calling however there was still a subtle disconnect.

I remember the moment I knew I was going to be stylist. It was a stormy afternoon in Sydney and I was sitting in bed manifesting thoughts and all of a sudden, with a crash bang of thunder and lighting, personal styling came to mind, and with that, a calming wave of certainty passed over me and I knew, that this was it, this is what I am meant to do. I’ve always been good at presenting myself and was that one friend everyone would turn to for styling advice. So why not turn that into a career? I went to work the next day and handed in my notice, the rest is history.

After that, I needed to kick start my newly found styling career and needed some inspiration. So I went to the only spot every mid-twenty-something year old male goes to draw inspiration, the pub. I went with a pen and pad on a quest to find a styling school that would help build my styling career. I only wrote down one name, The Australian Style Institute. Their values and integrity aligned with mine so I knew we were the right fit and I immediately enrolled. It’s been a priceless journey since.

Meet The Stylist Fernando 1

What do you love the most about mens fashion and styling?

My view on styling is that it’s different to fashion. Style is the visual communication of your personality and fashion is the tools used to achieve it. I love how genuinely confident we can feel when our style aligns with our personality and purpose. The clothes we wear can elicit certain behaviours like confidence, joy, excitement and anticipation and it puts us on the front foot to succeed in every day life. It’s not until I see the exact moment on my clients faces, when presentation and personality aligns, that I know I’ve done my job. I enjoy seeing clients connect with themselves and understanding themselves to tell their story to the world with intent.

Meet The Stylist Fernando 5

What is it like being a fitter at Oscar Hunt?

Being a fitter at Oscar Hunt is amazing. Everything from the team, clients and the space is great. Made to measure (M2M) suiting is quite a niche market and Oscar Hunt is one of the best M2M options on the scene.  I have the privilege of being part of an amazing team whilst continuing to develop my niche in men’s corporate styling. I take my clients through a journey of creating their ideal suit. Whether it be for work, wedding or leisure. A suit isn’t just a suit, I spend most of my time understanding who my client is to help design and create the ideal look. This includes selecting the ideal fabric, cutting in the right fit that compliments their proportions and using the right design details to create the desired first impression. It’s really is quite a unique experience.

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Fernando Kularatne (L) Photos: Blake Sanders

What do you find challenging about being a Mens Fashion Stylist?

One of the most challenging things about being a stylist is the common misconception that being stylish is being fashionable, which I personally think is not the case. I always get the question “what’s on trend” and “what’s in this season” and clients wants to buy the brand as oppose to investing purpose pieces. If we’re building out a wardrobe with staple versatile pieces, then the latest seasonal pieces from the Gucci or LV runway is not the way. However, after a bit of education and explanation most clients see the difference and invest in purpose pieces.

What’s your favourite look to wear? And what’s your favourite look to style?

My favourite look to wear is a plain white AS colour t-shirt, black nudie jeans and either my Huntsmen leather Balmoral boots or sneakers. Nice and simple and it allows me to dress it up or down with a single piece.

My favourite look to style is an outdoor wedding look with a twist. It’s a chance to get the creative juices flowing and create a moment that will be eternalised for the next 30-50 years in someone’s life. It’s quite the privilege.

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Image: Focus Photography

What advice would you give to “level up your style game”?

Invest in you, because if you don’t who will? Dress for you and what makes you happy, and don’t worry about what people may think. Get uncomfortable and try something new. Whether its colours, pattern, texture give it a crack. You won’t know what you like or don’t if you don’t experience it.

Who are your favourite designers and places to shop?

Tom Ford, I absolutely love the subtle boldness of his suits. Very well done.

Meet The Stylist Fernando

What advice would you give to aspiring Stylists?

Embrace your inner ‘F*ck it, I got this!’ mentality, the biggest downfall is not backing yourself. Learn from each opportunity. That’s where most of the growth occurs. Stay humble, respectful and eager to growth.

What’s next for you and your career?

My next focus is travel. I would love to learn about different styles and perceptions across countries and cultures and understand how they influence society.

If you’d like to meet more fashion stylists and find out more in our Meet the Stylist series.

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