All about Jimmy Choo
Say the name ‘Jimmy Choo’ and images are immediately evoked of the most exquisite high end designer shoes on the market. Over the years, Jimmy Choo the man has worked hard to build a reputation to turn his name into a brand that it synonymous with high fashion and high quality handmade shoes.
Currently residing in London, Jimmy Choo was born Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat in 1961, into a family of shoemakers in Penang, or the ‘pearl of the orient’, Malaysia. Being originally of Chinese Hakka descent, he crafted his very first pair of shoes at the age of eleven and this is when he found his own budding enthusiasm for crafting and creating shoes as part of the family business.
His undeniable passion for fashion and his excellent shoe making abilities brought Jimmy Choo to the UK where he studied and graduated from Cordwainers Technical College in Hackney in 1983. (The college has since become part of the London College of Fashion). Like any other student, Jimmy Choo had to fund his college education and so he took on a number of jobs around the London area, some of which included waiting in restaurants, cleaning, and naturally a placement in a shoe factory.
Jimmy Choo’s beginnings as a go it alone shoe maker can be traced back to a rented workshop in Hackney, North London. Opened in 1986, his workshop was a former hospital building and this is where Jimmy Choo really began to experiment with his own styles, and his own ideas of what a high quality woman’s shoe should look and feel like to wear.
It didn’t take very long, a little under two years, before Jimmy Choo’s iconic craftsmanship and designs were thrown into the international arena. Featured in a record eight page spread in a 1988 edition of Vogue magazine catapulted the Jimmy Choo name into the brand that it has become today.
Enjoying the fame that came with his ever growing reputation, Jimmy Choo was approached by British Vogue’s then accessories editor Tamara Mellon and seeing his potential for greater things, the duo founded Jimmy Choo Ltd in 1996. From then on, the Jimmy Choo Ltd team gathered momentum, building a worldwide brand that was nothing short of indulgent. The patronage of Princess Diana Princess of Wales from 1990 onwards, only served to boost the ever glowing image of the Jimmy Choo name and the Jimmy Choo brand.
The true success and worth of the Jimmy Choo designer label was seen by all when in April 2001, Choo sold a fifty per cent stake in the company for ten million pounds sterling.
From a small North London workshop to a premier brand, Jimmy Choo’s journey as a shoe maker has earned him international fame and notoriety as one of the best fashion shoe makers and designers of our time.
Expanding on his brand, Jimmy Choo is currently working on his ‘ready to wear range’ which also includes a fabulous array of fashion accessories such as high quality handbags and perfume. Choo is also currently and actively involved in a project that will see the creation of a shoe making institute in his home country of Malaysia in the hope of inspiring the next generation of budding and creative shoe makers and designers.
During his career, Jimmy Choo has received a number of accolades for his work and services to fashion and none more so than in 2002 when he was honoured to receive an OBE from Queen Elizabeth ll in recognition of services to the UKs shoe and fashion industry. In the year 2000 Jimmy Choo was also granted a state award by the Sultan of Pahang state in Malaysia for his career accomplishments. A further distinction was awarded to Jimmy Choo in 2004 when he was awarded and honorary fellowship by the University of Arts London, giving him the title of professor.
It is very clear to see that since the launch of his luxury fashion house label in 1996, Jimmy Choo and Jimmy Choo Ltd have gone from strength to strength. Not only Should the man himself be praised for his astounding capabilities as a designer and craftsman, but also as an influential figure and entrepreneur within the fashion industry and within the world of business as a whole.
From iconic pumps, to stylish winter boots and perfectly crafted evening shoes, Jimmy Choo takes inspiration reflecting memorable styles from history while embedding his own signature perfections. The latest collections of shoes, handbags and accessories by Jimmy Choo are sensationally sophisticated, individually and stylistic contrived in that embodies everything that the fashion label Jimmy Choo has inevitably become.
With a fully established name within the Hollywood set, the Jimmy Choo brand will forever be associated with style, glamour and panache.