adidas zip hoodie Jimmy Choo visits Brisbane to share tricks of the shoemaking trade
Professor Jimmy Choo, who has been awarded the title of “visiting Professor” by the London Institute, no longer owns the iconic shoe brand he created after he sold his shares in 2001.
The 68 year old has chosen Queensland’s TAFE Brisbane to continue his love of education and pass on his almost 60 years of experience in shoemaking.
“People ask why the Kung Fu master passes on the Kung Fu,” he said.
“I want to pass on my Kung Fu but it’s how to design, how to make a shoe.”
The designer said he was concerned the art of shoemaking was dying.
“All the handcrafting is very difficult now,” he said.
“Not many people want to learn how to handcraft.
“But if you have creativity and no skill, it’s difficult.”
Lessons learned from Australian visitChoo’s father was a reputable shoe designer in Malaysia and when he was young he spent time on the island of Penang working as his father’s apprentice, before travelling to London in the 1980s to study footwear at Cordwainers College now part of the London College of Fashion.
His trip to Brisbane has not only been to impart knowledge but also to learn.
Choo has visited a kangaroo leather company in Narangba with the intention of taking back knowledge of how to mould the leather to his design students in London.
Sunshine Coast shoe designer Jackie Orme Ward,
who also uses kangaroo leather to make some of her shoes, said it was humbling to have Choo compliment her work.
“His mind is just constantly working at teaching you everything he can cram into a conversation,” she said.
“Coming down to the level of talking about stitching and skiving leather and looking in a tannery like this at the process of leather, he’s so interested in every stage of the process.
“He gave me lots of advice about how to go forward with my business which was really exciting.”
Sally Brindley Mills, a shoemaker and senior design teacher at Brisbane’s TAFE, said the art of shoe design was staging a comeback in Brisbane.
“It has become a lost, dying art but now it’s actually having a resurgence,” she said.
“Bespoke is becoming more popular.
“[Choo] has designed and makes shoes for people like Kylie Minogue,
Nicole Kidman and also has done things for Princess Diana in the past.”
Choo ‘giving back to the people’Ms Brindley Mills said Choo’s expertise would be invaluable to her TAFE fashion students when he coached them in a masterclass in Brisbane on Saturday.