The City Talking: Fashion, Vol.1

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ldfw3: toms & made in leeds artist, tone

ldfw3: toms & made in leeds artist, tone


Well over 20,000 students were in Trinity Leeds for the Student Lock-in event on Monday night, and as part of LDFW3 Made in Leeds put some great Leeds talent in the spotlight, customising TOMS shoes live in front of the crowds outside the Office store.

One of the Made in Leeds artists was TONE: “T-O-N-E, all capitals. I’m a street artist, sign writer, anything artistic really.

“I started off doing quite a lot of artistic work for the football casual scene, I drew characters engaging in certain ways of skullduggery, drawing things from my past: characters wearing Fila jackets, Sergio Tacchini, Adidas trainers, getting up to mischief. From that I matured into more street art, where I was spray painting canvasses and stencilling band members and all sorts of things like that. I’ve got into sign writing now, where I’m painting with enamel on wood, metal, anything I find on the streets. Signs, pallets, broken bits of shelves, I’ll just take it, treat it, spray it and get painting on it.

“I’ve moved into a lot of 50s romance comic style things,” said TONE. “I used to collect old comic books, and the women characters were always illustrated in a different way to the superhero ones, and I always thought they were awesome. I like putting those characters into a modern world where they interact with and contradict the background.”


TONE’s ability to paint on almost anything means you can see his designs (or buy them from his website at, or the new Etsy shop) in almost any material on almost any surface: posters, t-shirts, stickers, walls, shoes…

“For the TOMS shoes I freestyled it,” said TONE. “I went for a comic book, 1980s New York graffiti style with bright pinks and greens. I was just basically going for it, slapping everything on. They feature a new character I created, a little hipster guy who represents facial hair and how cool it is to be hairy – I’m going to get him tattooed on me at some point. Every time I looked at the shoes I just added something new to them, with no game plan.”

“I just love anything artistic that is to do with fonts and old school stuff,” said TONE. “When I see a wall, if there’s something on it, that makes it interesting; if there’s nothing there, I think about what I could put there; and then I put it there, and I get done for it. Or it gets ripped off!”


Originally published in The City Talking Leeds: Issue 07