“I still consider myself an outsider,” says Tommy Ton, the pioneering street style photographer who, for the past eight years, has faithfully documented the scene outside the shows for Condé Nast’s Style.com.
I have been a fan of his for years. And it was one of my proudest moments when he shot me at the Isabel Marant Show in 2012.
But this isn’t the end for Tommy Ton. His full display website Tommyton.com, launches today.
The site will feature more than 15,000 Ton-lensed images from the past decade, including those previously featured on Style.com, GQ.com and the photographer’s former blog, Jak & Jil. In addition, Ton has released numerous unpublished photographs and plans on posting new and exclusive images weekly, all of which readers can sort images by colour, brand, trend and subject. “I thought it was really important, from a fashion nerd’s perspective, to be able to look back and view all these images I’ve taken in one place, and for it to be categorised down to every detail,” Ton says.
Ton will not join Vogue Runway, which scooped up some senior editorial staff from Style.com, including Nicole Phelps, and launched September 1st. Instead, he will cover the Spring 2016 shows independently. “It’s a huge gamble, but I think it will open other doors,” he says. “In fashion, there’s just so much change happening and I’ve been very fortunate to develop a lot of relationships in my career through designers and brands. So, I’ve been thinking, maybe I should just focus on that and not worry so much about whether or not my name is branded with anyone else’s.”
I wanted to be able to focus on my independent voice again.
Here is Tommy Ton’s Goodbye to Style.com
Ton leaves his six-year tenure at the publication in light of Condè Nast’s plans to transform Style.com into an eCommerce platform – joining the likes of Dirk Standen, and many other key team members.
Take a look at Tommy Ton’s emotional goodbye letter below:
So this is my Style.com sign off. I want to thank everyone over the last six years for their incredible outpour of support. I grew up glued to my computer screen living vicariously through the world of Style.com and never in a million years did I expect to become a contributor to the most relevant and influential fashion publication. It’s sad to see it go but fashion is all about change and moving forward. I want to thank Dirk Standen, Nicole Phelps and Tim Blanks for mentoring me and giving me this platform. I, still to this day, pinch myself that I had this incredible opportunity and will be forever grateful to the Style.com team for allowing me to be a part of history. Last week was my last submission in the field and I was fortunate to have my friend, Nick Wooster, be the last image I took for Style.com.
Many, many thanks again,
Ton began his career in Toronto at the age of 16, assisting evening wear designer Wayne Clark. He went on to work in the buying department of Canadian luxury department store Holt Renfrew, eventually landing a column at Flare magazine and a consulting gig with collector Lynda Latner’s e-commerce site VintageCouture.com. In 2005, he launched Jak & Jil as a place to post his own images and was amongst the first street style photographers circling show venues at fashion week.
In 2008, Ton was tapped by Style.com and GQ to replace Scott ‘The Sartorialist’ Schuman, although he continued to post regularly to Jak & Jil. It wasn’t until this year that he sold that domain to the Brazil-based firm Mucca, one of Ton’s commerical clients, for an undisclosed sum. Mucca has transformed the URL into an e-commerce destination that continues to feature street style photos as shopping inspiration.
Today’s street style scene is jammed with poseurs on both sides of the lens, but Ton sees things differently. “It has become quite a spectacle, but I still get extremely excited about it,” he says. “However, I’ll be filtering it through a different lens now that I’m not thinking about how a photo needs to look on the homepage of an online editorial site. It’s just going to be me focusing on what I like.”
Ton is eager to exhibit his non-street style work as well. The site also showcases his unique, editorialized images from the Gucci men’s Spring 2016 presentation, Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2016 runway and Protagonist’s Fall 2015 show. “
For now, Ton has no plans to monetize Tommyton.com through either sponsored content or banner advertisements, as he did with Jak & Jil. Instead, the photographer will focus on client work — brokered by his agents at the CollectiveShift — and will continue to license his images through Trunk Archive. Ton has diversified his revenue streams over the past decade, generating significant income from a wide range of activities, including shooting advertising campaigns and participating in one-off brand and editorial projects, in addition to image licensing and consulting work. This autumn, he’ll spend most of his time at the four major fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris, while continuing to comb through his extensive archive of images. “I like being hands on,” he says.
Original article: The Business of Fashion