Legendary Penang-born shoe designer Jimmy Choo has built a luxury shoe empire that spans the globe—and this autumn, he'll turn his attentions to education with the opening of the JCA London Fashion Academy, a fashion school and incubator in Mayfair, London. Accredited through the University of West London, the JCA London Fashion Academy will matriculate 100 students this September in fashion design courses that focus on both practical design skills as well as entrepreneurship.
"The Academy is the best place to be for fashion students looking to gain entry into the industry as an entrepreneur," the school's new website explains. "We encourage all students to define their own market, develop their own brand, and design their own unique collections. We will professionally incubate you and your new business through your time at the JCA so you graduate with a business alongside your degree or masters qualification."
With a curriculum created by a team of fashion academics under the auspices of JCA Director of Teaching and Learning Susan Dillon, the former fashion course leader at Leeds College of Art, the newest arrival on the London fashion school scene will join the likes of other legendary colleges, including Central Saint Martins, the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts. However, unlike many other fashion design curricula, the JCA will steer students towards business leadership in addition to creative direction.
"A lot of designers, they know design," Choo told the Times of London from his home in Kuala Lumpur, where he has been staying during the global Covid pandemic. "But they do not know about business. In the old days, once I'd come up with a design, I'd look at it—'Oh, it's so beautiful, definitely it will catch the press's attention!' I wasn't a businessman. But working for years and years, you learn it slowly. My vision for the academy is to teach them my knowledge for design, but also to have a business mind as well."