The best street style photographer in the world, Tommy Ton, is all sorts of a legend. And, like, pretty much basically the nicest guy ever to boot. But he's not just a photographer. No, he's a heavy shopper as well. His clothing collection is expansive and various and enviable and just straight up lit, so he sat down with our carpetbagging Deputy Editor piece of fucking garbage Jian DeLeon for a piece at Style Dot Com about his shopping habits. Here are some of the highlights:
Tokyo is the best place to shop for menswear. SHOCKER:
Not only in terms of Japanese brands, but also shopping consignment there is the best thing. You can find so many European designers mixed in with Japanese designers—at a much lower cost. And everything is always in mint condition. I feel like shopping is kind of a sport there: You’re always on the hunt and competing with others for the same thing. I just find it more interesting to find things that no one else is gonna have, you’re always gonna find much more rare pieces in Japan by particular designers.
His favorite online shops are Yoox, The Corner and Trés Bien:
Well, my first favorite is probably Yoox.com, just because I find it more fascinating buying out of season. I’m definitely an advocate of “buy now and wear later,” so that’s why I spend a lot of my time on Yoox, and it’s also the thrill of the hunt—not knowing when something’s gonna drop and what size you can get. I spend a lot of time on TheCorner.com, as well. I think probably the best curated shop online for menswear is Très Bien. I think those guys have obviously done an amazing job, and what they’ve created is the best prototype for a men’s online store.
Does he have pieces he buys, but never actually wears? You bet your ass he does. He also buys women's clothes:
Yes, I definitely buy whatever Raf piece I can get. ... I have quite a few outerwear pieces from Raf Simons. I have several pieces from Helmut Lang from way back in the ’90s and early 2000s. I do buy both men’s and women’s. I buy women’s Balenciaga from when Nicolas Ghesquière was designing. If I’m lucky I’ll find stuff in my size sometimes and I’ll wear it. I have a few crazy outerwear pieces from him—sometimes I outgrow them, but I’ll still keep them in the archive and use them for my own photo shoots.
His biggest splurge? A $3,000 Valentino varsity:
I don’t know what I was thinking. I just thought it was the most perfect jacket when I saw it, and when I came home a couple weeks after fashion month, it was available online and I caved in. I dropped $3,000 on it. If you were to ask me if I were to spend that much now—no. I would never spend that much on one piece. Back then I was just throwing my money away.
He doesn't call himself a "sneakerhead" though he has more than 100 pairs:
Sneakers…maybe 120? I only know this because my mother decided to go through all my shit and count all my shoes. She just likes to clean up my archive—I don’t ask her! She said to me a couple of months ago, “I think you’ve acquired 170 pairs of shoes to date.” ... I was just buying out of practicality. I stand on my feet all day, I need to wear comfortable shoes, and I need an assortment of colors, so I’ll buy multiples of the same thing.
How does he bring all the clothes with him when he travels without getting hit at customs:
Coming back, if you spend a certain amount, you get charged for customs and duties, so what I do is downplay how I look. I’ll wear a sweatshirt or a hoodie, and when I go through customs I’m not claiming everything. I have to look like I’m backpacking or something so they don’t suspect I have a duffel full of Dries from the current season or Christophe Lemaire. Or when I come back from Japan, I’m coming back with three times the amount of stuff than I brought with me, so I have to look like I haven’t been shopping.
How long has he gone without buying anything:
I think possibly…a week. Probably a week and a half or two weeks. When I’m working during fashion month, that’s kind of a blessing in disguise because I’m not thinking about buying clothes. I’ll pop into a couple of stores, but I won’t buy anything.