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Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat, co-founder of Jimmy Choo Ltd., was born in Penang, Malaysia in 1961. He grew up in a family of shoemakers and started making shoes when he was eleven years old.

In 1980, Choo left Malaysia to study the art of footwear design at Cordwainers Technical College in London, England, graduating in 1983. Choo had to work long hours at odd jobs as he struggled to support himself while going to school. He credits this humbling experience with transforming him from a shoemaker to a serious shoe designer.

After graduating from college, Choo opened his own shoe design business in Hackney, in London in 1984. He operated his business out of the former Metropolitan Hospital, the same location in which Alexander McQueen, another famous fashion designer, started his early career.

Choo sold his first footwear products under the Lucky Shoes brand name. In 1986, he started selling shoes using his own name as the brand. Although his shoes were expensive, Choo built a profitable business making hand made shoes and boots for fashion conscious women. It wasn't long before his designs caught the attention of trendy shoppers.

In 1988, Vogue magazine did an eight page layout of Jimmy Choo designs and not long afterwards, Diana, Princess of Wales became a Jimmy Choo fan which help boost his brand appeal immensely. Choo's shoes and boots spoke volumes in terms of his talents as a designer. He designed and produced leather and snake skin shoes and experimented in different colored dyes.

After partnering with Tamara Mellon, Accessories Editor at British Vogue, Jimmy Choo Ltd. was launched in 1996. Mellon realized the potential demand for stylish but wearable shoes and knew that Jimmy Choo had already made a reputation as an excellent craftsman in shoe design. At that time, Jimmy Choo Ltd. opened it's first stand alone boutique on Motcomb Street in London.

Choo sold his 50% share of Jimmy Choo, Ltd in 2001 and began work on an exclusive Jimmy Choo Couture line produced under the license of Jimmy Choo Ltd. The Jimmy Choo London line, also known as Jimmy Choo Ready-To-Wear is under the scope of Tamara Mellon. The Jimmy Choo Ready-To-Wear line includes hand bags and accessories.

Since selling his share of Jimmy Choo Ltd in 2001, the company has changed majority shareholders on different occasions, 2004, Lion Capital, and 2007, TowerBrook Capital Partners. Through the changes, the Jimmy Choo Ltd. has grown substantially making it one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

Jimmy Choo was the recipient of the 2008 Designer Brand of the Year, the 2008 ACE award, and and the Nordstrom Partners of Excellence award.

Jimmy Choo has stores in over 30 countries and it's women's shoes, hand bags, eyewear, and other goods can be found in many high end department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman and specialty stores that cater to well to do shoppers.

Choo's most recent endeavor has been teaming up with Ugg. The sheepskin boots will feature detailed designs similar to the high heels of Choo. According to WWD fashion, the boots will range from $525 through $795

Well known personalities who wear the Jimmy Choo brand include Beyonce, Sarah Jessica Parker, Charleze Theron, Madonna, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez and many more.

Choo lives in London. He is currently involved in a project to set up a shoemaking institute in Malaysia, where his iconic status is often evoked to inspire budding shoemakers and fashion designers.

Tamara Mellon, Co-founder and President, and Joshua Schulman, Chief Executive Officer, are in charge of the company's development which today enjoys the stature of one of the world's most treasured and prominent luxury brands.


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