Loving what she does... | Daily News

Loving what she does...

Raffealla Fernando
Raffealla Fernando

She has not only taken huge strides in the fashion industry but has spread her wings in diverse sectors in the field too. From being an award winning designer to showing a flair for styling, photography, fashion journalism, film art direction and jewellery designing, Raffealla Fernando has become an evergreen name in the fashion field, both locally and internationally.

Her passion for fashion brought her into the field and she says that she had been dreaming of a career in the field since she began encoding a career from a right mind.

“I’ve always loved fashion since I was a kid. My mom tells me that I use to pick my own clothes and select very different colour combinations for myself even when I was a kid. I believe my grandmother had a lot to do with it too. She was a diva and a true fashionista. Of course it could be the genes but I’ve always been very serious about getting in to the glamour industry,” Raffealla recalled.

During her early teens Raffealla had been questioned on what she wants to become when she grew up. The entire class had written doctor, lawyer and etc. Raffealla had been the only one who had written that she aspires to become a fashion designer.

“I remember getting punished in school for not taking my career seriously but now when I look back I realize that I was very clear about my dream job,” she explained.

The field of fashion is endless. Everything above is inter-connected with each job role.

“Another designer named Heshan and I recently collaborated and launched our new venture ‘RaffeallaxHeshan’ where we design, style and take care of the model or the artiste from head to toe. Something I’ve always wanted to do was direction. I just finished directing my very first fashion film which will be releasing next month. I am very excited for everyone to see it. That’s something very new to my table. ‘Style file by Raffealla’ is my brain child which I worked really hard on during the lockdown. Introducing styling, fashion and makeover styling as a statement to the digital platform is something I am currently working on it,” she said.

She notes that the most challenging aspect she has come across in her career has to be convincing people and making them believe that female photographers can be as good as male photographers.

“When I started 11 years ago I was always questioned. Many clients use to look at me with a doubt because back in those days there weren’t much female photographers in the fashion scene. I was extremely young so making them believe in myself and my talent was a mammoth task,” she stressed.

The first turning point in Raffealla’s career was winning three fashion awards on the same night at Sri Lanka’s Up Coming Fashion Designer of the Year 2010. She got back to back orders, PR and projects to work on.

“For someone who was very new to the industry that made a huge change. It gave me a platform to grow. The next turning point has to be working internationally in countries like England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Maldives, and India. Every single day was a learning experience. Working internationally changed me a lot as an artist,” she noted.

One of the aspects which makes her work stand out are the unusual looks she dons on well know personalities. Raffealla’s annual celebrity calendars are synonymous in the local glamour and glitter scene.

“I have worked with more than 150 celebrities by now. I’ve done different looks and concepts for everyone. I believe inspiration comes from anything and everything so its hard for me pin point from where I get the ideas from. I work on the idea until I can develop a concept to work on. I would love to work with Jacqueline Fernandez. I’ve always been a fan of her work,” she said.

Queried on what we can expect in the celebrity calendar 2022 and she gives a sly smile.

“I started shooting for the 2022 calendar and I cant wait for everyone to see it. It will have a big twist,” she revealed.

She says that on the positive side the Sri Lankan fashion industry is growing.

“We have so many talented designers in Sri Lanka now. We really need to polish it up in many different ways Our fashion industry needs to be more tasteful. I also think that we should definitely start working without local artisans and talent for the industry to move forward,” she said.

All industries had the biggest down fall due to the pandemic. Many leading brands discontinued their collections.

“It’s not solely small businesses. Even big fashion houses were affected. They have thousands and thousands of staff. Due to the pandemic many have lost jobs in the apparel industry which is very sad to see. The small businesses are struggling but just after the lockdown people are catching up with their businesses. But we will need some time to rise back. It will be some time before the fashion industry can function normally or better,” she opined.

She advices youth who wish to step into the industry to be passionate about what they do.

“Do not get into the industry because you best friend is in it. Love what you do. Also love what we have here: our country, our art our artisans because we all need to move forward together,” she said.

She has some cool and fresh projects with a few leading brands coming up. She is working on a style series called ‘Style File by Raffealla’ for digital platforms. She is also working on a ready to wear line mermadish. A book penned by her will be launched in 2022.

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