15 November 1952 |
George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Dato' Jimmy Choo, OBE, born Choo Yeang Keat (Chinese: 周仰杰; pinyin: Zhōu Yǎngjié), is a Malaysian fashion designer based in United Kingdom. He is best known for co-founding Jimmy Choo Ltd that became known for its handmade women's shoes.
Choo was born in Penang, Malaysia, into a family of shoemakers. His family name is Chow but was misspelled on his birth certificate as Choo. He has a son, Danny, who runs Mirai Inc. in Tokyo, Japan, and a daughter who studied interior design in San Francisco. He made his first shoe when he was 11 years old.
Education & Career
Choo graduated from Cordwainers Technical College in Hackney (now part of the London College of Fashion) in 1983. Choo worked part-time at restaurants and as a cleaner at a shoe factory to help fund his college education. After graduation Choo began work at a shop in Hackney which he opened in 1986 by renting an old hospital building. His craftsmanship and designs were soon noticed and his creations became featured in eight pages in a 1988 issue of Vogue. Patronage from Diana, Princess of Wales from 1990 further boosted his image.
In 1996 he co-founded Jimmy Choo Ltd with British Vogue magazine accessories editor Tamara Mellon. In April 2001, Choo sold his 50% stake in the company for £10 million. He has since concentrated his work on the exclusive Jimmy Choo Couture line produced under license from Jimmy Choo Ltd. The Jimmy Choo London line, also known as Jimmy Choo Ready-To-Wear or, simply, Jimmy Choo, is under the purview of Mellon[who?]. The ready-to-wear line has expanded to include accessories such as handbags.
Choo lives in London and is currently involved in a project to set up a shoemaking institute in Malaysia. His company continues to produce expensive high-end shoes.
Awards and honours
- 2000: Bestowed a state award carrying the title of Dato' by the Sultan of Pahang state in Malaysia for his achievements
- 2002: Conferred an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in recognition of his services to the shoe and fashion industry in the UK
- 2004: Awarded the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Governor) of his home state of Penang, which also carries the title Dato'
- 2009: Awarded an Honorary Fellowship by University of the Arts London 
- 2011: Winner of "The World’s Outstanding Malaysian Designer 2011" Design for Asia Award for the "Daniel" part
- 2012: Received You Bring Charm to the World – World’s Most Influential Malaysian Award
- Awarded an honorary doctorate in art in July 2004 by De Montfort University, Leicester, U.K., for his contribution to their unique Single Honours Footwear Design degree
- Newsmakers (2006) Gale Biography In Context, Detroit
- Back from London to receive award AllMalaysia.info, 27 August 2004
- Penang Yang di-Pertua Negri's birthday honours list TheStar.com.my, 10 July 2004
- UAL Honorary Fellows and Doctorates
- Mellon, Tamara; William Patrick (2013). In My Shoes: A Memoir. New York: Portfolio/Penguin. ISBN 9781591846161. OCLC 855783504.