The last word with Professor Jimmy Choo
Professor Jimmy Choo recently made a 10-day trip to Australia, imparting his design knowledge and words of wisdom to very eager fashion enthusiasts and design students. Profile was honoured to catch up with the esteemed shoe designer when he spoke at TAFE Queensland in Brisbane. We were greeted by a humble, hilarious and wise man who says he just wants to, “share his experience and knowledge,” with as many young people as he can.
I grew up in… Penang, Malaysia. It’s a small island, but pretty.
My first job… was in shoes, working with my father. Always shoes, my whole life.
I would like to be better at… my skill, and to pass on my skill and my knowledge to the young generation.
The highlight of my career so far… to be honest, I’m still looking. I think it’s learning, seeing things, never stopping until one day I cannot do it, then that’s it. I haven’t got any highlights myself. Highlights are what people give to me, highlights are people respect me. You know, I’m an old Chinaman!
If I wasn’t a shoe designer I would be… a healer. I think it’s very important. A friend of mine is very ill, so he met a healer in Ireland and he healed him. My friends, they all have a gift. I wish one day that I can have a gift. A lot of women have foot problems and when you heal the feet you can wear beautiful shoes.
If I could give any advice to young creatives, it would be… a lot of people say you have to work hard, but everyone can work hard. Not everybody who works hard can achieve success. Be very nice to people, understanding the environment, understand the people they work with, always have a very kind heart. You mustn’t complain. Learn how to be kind and calm, you mustn’t lose your temper. If I’m not responsible for myself I would not be here today. Every pair of shoes I make had to be good quality, had to be great. If a customer had any doubt in them, I’d say, “Bring them back to me and I’ll make a new one”. You want to create a good name and everything has to be word of mouth. I can teach you to be a shoe designer very quickly, but I want to teach you how to treat the whole world, treat the people you are working with, treat your family.
The people who inspire me are… my parents, because I am the only son in the family. Mum is a very kind person. They always support me. When I have a difficult time, they are on my side. When I’m ill, they are on my side. Family is very important, we must thank parents.
My hidden talent is… I’m good at talking to people. I teach people now how to connect to each other, to be calm, be kind. But I do cooking as well.