Fashion & Beauty

Datuk Jimmy Choo

World-renowned Malaysian high-fashion shoe designer Jimmy Choo is the name behind one of the biggest global brands

Profile


The son of a shoe cobbler, Datuk Jimmy Choo first learned how to make shoes by hand from his father and made his first pair of slippers at the age of 11. To hone his skills, he furthered his studies at Cordwainers Technical College in London, graduating with honours. Deciding to stay in London, he eventually opened his own shop in 1986 in an old hospital building. Admired for their impeccable craftsmanship and design, his shoes were soon featured in an eight-page spread in Vogue magazine, gaining him significant recognition. Choo’s prominence grew exponentially when Princess Diana began to religiously wear his shoes wherever she went.

After partnering with Tamara Mellon, the accessories editor of British Vogue magazine, the shoe designer co-founded his eponymous company and quickly grew the brand globally with stores in Los Angeles and New York. His shoes, affectionately referred to as Jimmy Choos, have been donned by a long list of A-list celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts. The brand eventually expanded to include handbags and accessories.

Due to a strained relationship and disagreement with his partner Mellon over the direction of the brand, Choo sold his 50 per cent stake in the company and went back to producing a small number of shoes at a time. He now works on an exclusive Jimmy couture line, and trains students in his small shop in London on how to make high-end shoes. The title of Order of the British Empire (OBE) was conferred to Choo in 2002 for his services to the shoe and fashion industry in the UK.

Choo recently launched JCA London Fashion Academy to educate young designers.

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Did you know?


Before he decided to go with his own name, his shoe label was originally Lucky Shoes. Choo's real surname is Chow, but it was misspelled in his birth certificate.  

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