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Jimmy Choo

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Jimmy Choo
Choo at the Red Dot Awards in 2016
Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat

(1948-11-15) 15 November 1948 (age 75)
Alma materCordwainers Technical College
OccupationFashion designer
SpouseDatin Rebecca Choi
Children2, including Danny
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese周仰傑
Simplified Chinese周仰杰

Datuk Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat PJN DIMP DSPN OBE[1] (born 15 November 1948)[2] is a Malaysian fashion designer based in the United Kingdom. He co-founded Jimmy Choo Ltd, which became known for its handmade women's shoes.

Early life


Choo was born in 1948 in the Crown Colony of Penang, Malaysia, into a family of shoemakers. Of Chinese descent, his family name is Chew (Chinese: ), but it was misspelled on his birth certificate as Choo. Choo's father, a shoemaker who made all of his shoes by hand, taught him the craft. "My parents were shoemakers and I have followed my father's lead. He inspired me," said Jimmy Choo.[3] He made his first pair of shoes when he was 11 years old—a pair of slippers.[4][5][6]

Between 1982 and 1984, Choo studied at Cordwainers Technical College in Hackney (now part of the London College of Fashion) in London.[7] He went to a design firm to work after graduation, wishing to remain in London permanently instead of returning to Malaysia.[5]



After college, Choo worked at two design companies for a total of nine years before starting his own business. Choo initially started with the help of the Prince's Trust. Choo's parents emigrated to Britain to help him get started, and he eventually expanded the business by opening his first shop in 1986, renting an old hospital building. His craftsmanship and designs were soon noticed at London Fashion Week in 1988. After seeing his creations, Vogue featured his shoes in an eight page spread. Choo has said that his designs became significantly more popular after the Vogue coverage.[5] Patronage from Princess Diana in the early 1990s further bolstered his image.[5]

In 1996, Choo co-founded Jimmy Choo Ltd. with British Vogue magazine accessories editor Tamara Mellon.[8] In April 2001, Choo sold his 50% stake in the company for £10 million.[8] He has since concentrated his work on the exclusive Jimmy Choo couture line produced under license from Jimmy Choo Ltd.[9] The Jimmy Choo London line, also known as Jimmy Choo Ready-To-Wear or, simply, Jimmy Choo, is under the purview of Tamara Mellon. The ready-to-wear line has expanded to include accessories such as handbags.

In 2009, Choo claimed that his brand was a favourite of Diana, Princess of Wales.[10]

Choo at TEDxShanghai in 2012

Awards and honours

  • 2002: Appointed an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in recognition of his services to the shoe and fashion industry in the UK
  • 2004: Awarded an honorary doctorate in art by De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, for his contribution to their unique Single Honours Footwear Design degree
  • 2009: Awarded an Honorary Fellowship by University of the Arts London[11]
  • 2011: Winner of "The World's Outstanding Malaysian Designer 2011" Design for Asia Award for the "Daniel" part
  • 2011: Winner of the "Outstanding Chinese Designer Award" for his accomplishments in the footwear industry.[6]
  • 2012: Received You Bring Charm to the World – the Most Influential Malaysian Award
  • 2013: Became a member of the Red Dot product design jury.[12]

Honours of Malaysia


International honours



  1. ^ "Back from London to receive award". AllMalaysia.info. 27 August 2004. Archived from the original on 11 December 2005.
  2. ^ Newsmakers (2006) Gale Biography In Context, Detroit
  3. ^ Goldstein Crowe, Laura; Maceira de Rosen, Sagra (2009). The Towering World of Jimmy OP. A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe. New York, Berlin, London: Bloomsbury. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-59691-391-2.
  4. ^ "The Jimmy Choo connection". Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ a b c d "How boy from Penang became shoemaker of choice for British royals". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Jimmy Choo Honoured". British Vogue. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  7. ^ "London College of Fashion (formerly Cordwainers College) – Jimmy Choo OBE". Association of Colleges. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b Solomon, Michael. "Luxury Lineage: A Brief History of Jimmy Choo". Forbes. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Jimmy Choo finds right fit with sole couture line". GMA News Online. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  10. ^ Moss, Hilary (9 November 2009). "Jimmy Choo: I was Princess Diana's Shoemaker". Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  11. ^ "UAL Honorary Fellows and Doctorates". arts.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Red Dot Design Award: Icon of the fashion world: Dato' Professor Jimmy Choo debuts as a red dot juror in 2013". en.red-dot.org. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Michelle Yeoh, Jimmy Choo, Zang Toi Antara Penerima Pingat". mStar (in Malay). 1 June 2013. Archived from the original on 2 November 2023. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
  14. ^ Penang Yang di-Pertua Negeri's birthday honours list TheStar.com.my, 10 July 2004

Further reading