It is almost a modern-day fairy tale come true. From his humble beginnings as a fashion blogger Tommy Ton has hit the big-time. His fashion photo blog Jak & Jil is one of the most popular fashion photo blogs on the Internet today. But it has not been an easy journey to the top. Ton became interested in fashion as a teenager. At 15, he interned with Toronto designer Wayne Clark, and then with Canadian luxury department store Holt Renfrew. In 2005, he began the Jak & Jil Blog as a Toronto-specific lifestyle website. However, the site’s transformation into a streetstyle photo blog happened much later.
In 2007, Lynda Latner of vintagecouture.com spotted Ton’s talent and sent him to Europe to catch fashion shows in London and Paris. It was here that Ton began experimenting with street photography. He managed inroads into Chanel, Yves St. Laurent and Rick Owens during that period. He soon caught the eye of the fashion media in Canada. A full page in Flare offered Ton the impetus to return to Europe. Ton finally discovered his own style in 2008, a year when most were busy copying the work of noted fashion blogger Scott Schuman. Schuman’s The Sartorialist is one of the premiere fashion photo blogs on the Internet today. His signature lies in the head-to-toe fashion photos of regular folk turned out in style. Ton wanted to move away from that style. He recognized that Schuman had mastered that genre of fashion photos.
So Ton took a different route. He began to look out for interesting details. A pair of cutesy socks here, an interesting jacket there. Ton found his calling in taking candid fashion photos of passersby. This style has catapulted his blog to the heights of fashion. The fashion industry loves it. A quick glance will reveal why.
Ton’s photos tell a story. They capture movement and color, style and attitude. And each of his photos have a dash of fun. He might captured a gloved hand trying to hail a cab or a model crossing the road even as the wind blows in at her jacket offering a peek at the blouse beneath. There is so much going on in Ton’s streetstyle fashion photos, yet the fashion element is always at the forefront. A Tommy Ton photograph is now easily recognizable – a fact that even fellow bloggers like teenage fashion blogging sensation Tavi Gevinson agree with.
Ton’s big chance came when he was hired by Lane Crawford to shoot their Spring/Summer 2009 campaign. It was then that he realized that he could demand large sums for his fashion photos and that his style of fashion photography was in demand among the fashion biggies of the world.
Ton has come a long way from the days when he charged $50 to $100 per photo. These days, Ton is able to charge as much as $2,000 for his photos, though the minimum limit remains $100. Most recently, Ton has been handed a behind-the-scenes invite to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show – a clear indication that this fashion photo blogger has arrived.