JIMMY CHOO reveals the one lesson he's learned from life

You’ll never feel old if you’re happy: JIMMY CHOO reveals the one lesson he’s learned from life

  • Loved by the likes of Madonna, footwear designer Jimmy Choo has never wanted to stop working
  • READ MORE: MEL B reveals the one lesson she has learned from life 

Footwear designer Jimmy Choo, 74, is the man the likes of Madonna, Michelle Obama and the late Princess Diana have turned to for their shoes. 

He splits his time between Malaysia, Shanghai and London.

You’ll never feel old if you’re happy 

My father was a shoe designer in Penang, Malaysia. After doing my homework as a boy, I would watch him and my uncle designing and making shoes. 

When I left school at 13, I went to work with my father. Everything was done by hand then. You’d cut the leather with a knife, then hand stitch the sole.

In 1982, I came to London to study at Cordwainers Technical College [now part of London College of Fashion] to learn the technology behind shoe design and manufacture. 

Jimmy Choo, 74, shows no signs of slowing down. He’s still working because he loves fashion and he loves passing on what he’s learned to aspiring footwear designers 

My father taught me to make balanced and comfortable shoes. But in London I learnt about sketching and design — and also marketing, and specialist machinery.

After that, it was word of mouth. Customers would tell people: ‘If you want a comfortable, beautiful, fashionable shoe, go to Jimmy Choo.’ 

I learned that from my father. It’s not just about making money, it’s about producing something good, then people will come back.

Sometimes I regret not spending more time with my family when they were younger.

I was so busy in London Fashion Week, designing shoes for catwalk shows — Helmut Lang, Jasper Conran, Bruce Oldfield, Paul Smith, John Rocha. One year I didn’t go home for four days!

Choo’s fans include Catherine, Princess of Wales

Now I tell students to remember their family when working hard. As a designer, you’re not a businessman. But you can learn, or employ advisers to help with these skills. 

Your family is more important — when they are happy, you’re happy. You need that balance in life.

I’m still working because I love fashion and I love education, and in the same way I have had so much support in my career, I want to pass on my skills. 

I’ve never wanted to stop working. I think once you stop, your body slows down. I’ve never felt old because I’m happy.

  • Jimmy Choo is a member of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers. The 2023 winner of its annual footwear awards is Jihwi Ahn of De Montfort University, Leicester.

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