Tell us a bit about yourself: How did you start your career and what made you get into content creation?
Hey, everyone! My name is Frank Tkachenko, a 26-year-old digital marketer living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While I’m not a full-time content creator (yet!), I’ve been posting men’s fashion inspiration on @stylesofman and www.stylesofman.com since 2016 when I was a college student trying to step up his style game. While I tried to find my own personal style, I decided to give content creation a shot as I documented my own style journey. Beyond grateful for the friends and community I’ve been able to help build along the way.
Which aspects of content generation do you most enjoy? What are the major challenges behind it?
The process of idea -> execution -> posting -> listening can have many twists and turns, but nothing beats the satisfaction of spending time on a piece of content and finally clicking that “Post” button. There have been many instances when I’ve been daunted by a collaboration with a brand as I’ve been pressed against a deadline, but wrapping up a shoot and coffee-fueled editing spree and being happy with the final result is just so satisfying. Like many things in life, the hardest part is getting started. Just gotta pick up that camera and remember why you fell in love with the process in the first place.
Being a content creator - even part-time - isn’t always as glamorous as many think. Working a full-time job and wrapping up a long work day only to need to start right back up with conceptualizing or executing on a piece of content can be difficult. You have to be your own boss with this kind of thing. Then there’s the ever-changing structure of the platforms we post on like Instagram, where a seemingly simple algorithm change can derail your entire process. Worrying about things such as likes and comments, while ultimately vanity metrics, can be incredibly stressful. I’ve been burnt out more than a handful of times; it can be legitimately draining. The most important piece of advice I can offer is to remember why you started in the first place.
Fall in love with the process and the rest will come easy.
How did you get into fashion and how would you describe your style?
When I was a freshman in college in 2015, I was big on the self-development craze (still am) and thought that the “look good feel good” idea was something I could explore by improving the way I dressed. I was very active on Reddit fashion subreddits like /r/malefashionadvice and while my first step into fashion was the then-stylish OCBD + chinos + desert boots trend, I started developing my own personal style.
Ultimately, I think my sense of style is pretty eclectic. I love the classic selvedge + boots looks as much as I enjoy dressing “techy” in performance fabrics and sneakers. That’s what I love about fashion; you can pick and choose looks that you enjoy and splice them together into a style of your own. Monday doesn’t need to look like Friday.
What was the story behind your flat lays? How does your style communicate to your audience?
Apart from my written blogs, flatlays / outfit grids were my first form of original content. I’ve always loved design and seeing things placed neatly in interesting ways, so this format was a perfect fit for me. In my eyes, the flatlay is a way to get inspiration for an outfit while visualizing yourself in it. We’re not all 6’2” shredded models, which is what 90% of men’s “lifestyle” content was back then. Outfit grids let you picture yourself in the clothes without the pressure of looking a certain way. Fashion is for everyone.
Whose style do you admire? Why? What are the core elements/principles of the style of others you admire?
Oh, man, this is a tough question. There are so many great creators out there that dress sharp. Nate (@cuffington) is someone I followed for quite a while before I even started making my own content. I get lots of inspiration from his more rugged/dark Americana-type looks.
Lately, I’ve also been drawing inspiration from Devan (@devanondeck). He’s a great example of someone who likes to go against the grain with his style and always incorporates unconventional pieces like kimonos while styling them perfectly.
What do you think are the most critical aspects of styling and what advice would you suggest for anyone looking to style?
The most important piece of advice I learned when beginning to dress more stylishly was to value what you like above the opinions of others. Sure, we all love receiving compliments on what we wear, but dress for yourself first and foremost. Others don’t care nearly as much as we might think.
Whether you dress more “basic” or enjoy throwing a curveball into the mix, “owning it” goes a long way when it comes to looking good in the clothes you wear. Confidence is key.
What are some of your favorite products by KATO? How would you style it on a day-to-day basis?
I ride or die for my KATO denim. Catch me wearing my “The Pen” 4-way stretch denim questionably often in the cooler months. Beyond comfortable, especially once broken in, and pairs well with just about everything. Don’t sleep on the Ripper shirts either; my ivory Waffle Double Gauze from the SS22 collection is easy + breezy to style. The fabric is just so cool.