Tommy Ton

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Tommy Ton

Best known for his phenomenally successful Web-publishing project Jak & Jil, Tommy Ton is driven by an obsessive and extensive knowledge of fashion design. As a street photographer, he is admired for the wit and energy of his stylish shots. Yet as a portraitist of the leading stylists and editors whom he photographs in and around the catwalk shows, Ton is revered for his rare ability to pick up on the garments and styling details that forecast the trends of the forthcoming seasons – often before they are previewed on the catwalk. His eye for an eloquent image, combined with his acute awareness of the key fashion innovations makes him an arbiter of taste for industry figures and online enthusiasts.
The 28 year old image maker originally began taking photographs of parties in his hometown of Toronto, Canada. But Ton’s first job, at the age of 16, was assisting the Canadian eveningwear designer Wayne Clark. He went on to work for the Toronto department store Holt Renfrew, swiftly graduating from shop floor to the buying department, where he honed his taste for international fashion brands. From there, Ton was appointed as a columnist at Flare magazine and also consulted to Linda Latner’s Vintage Couture website, where he gained a grounding in historical fashion.Ton’s technical role at Latner’s site encouraged him to launch his own online project in 2005, a constantly updating platform for his snapshot images. Now receiving no less than 265,000 unique viewers per week – and far exceeding the circulation figures many glossy magazines receive in a month – Jak & Jil is widely regarded at the forefront of the new fashion publishing. Adopting the objective perspective of the fanatical online fashion-follower, with whom Ton claims to identify most, his inventive images capture the moment elite glamour of luxury fashion collides with the reality of the world outside. Articulating directional fashion content through the language of style photography – the jewel-encrusted Balmain heel sunk into the gravel in a Parisian park, perhaps, or else the rear view of a celebrity stylist, pictured facing a pack of photographers outside a catwalk show – Ton has also captured the imagination of commercial clients.

Lane Crawford invited him to interpret their Spring/Summer collections for 2009; Ton shot luxury apparel and especially his beloved shoes in his signature reportage style for an extensive campaign portfolio. Though his photography has been featured in numerous personal profiles printed in publications such as US Vogue, Elle Collections and The New York Times, Ton is increasingly likely to be photographing for those major titles. Recently, his editorial has been published in American Vogue, Paris Vogue and Vogue Nippon. His street reportage finds its most extensive global audience online, however, via Jak & Jil and the and websites, to which he is a regular contributor.
Image courtesy of Justin Chung