Professor Jimmy Choo OBE, the world-famous pioneer of luxury, handmade shoes, lit up Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools during a wonderful two-day visit.
Professor Choo, who crafted shoes for the late Diana, Princess of Wales, is a passionate supporter of education, particularly after all the success he has achieved in his career.
He is passionate about designing and craftsmanship and formed the JCA London Fashion Academy with Mr Stephen Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of JCA.
Keen to inspire future generations, Professor Choo shared his incredible knowledge, wisdom and entrepreneurship with a talk at Monmouth School for Girls on Wednesday 5th October.
He then delivered fabulous masterclasses on Thursday 6th October with the boys and girls in Agincourt and The Grange at Monmouth Prep School, and then with Art students in Monmouth Schools Sixth Form.
“I don’t think that I am high profile,” Professor Choo, a humble man, told the audience on Wednesday evening.
“People are kind to me and ask me questions, but I didn’t have a very good education. I was only at school until I was 12 years old.
“I am not a businessman; I am not a speaker; I talk from my heart; I can tell you my story and what I’ve gone through.
“If you respect wherever you go in the world, I know that you’ll be OK. Jimmy Choo shoes will bring you good luck, happiness and good health.”
Questioned beautifully by Headmistress at Monmouth School for Girls, Mrs Jessica Miles, Professor Choo discussed the importance of perseverance, dedication, creativity and craftsmanship.
They were joined on stage by Mr Smith, from JCA London Fashion Academy.
Professor Choo gave a fascinating insight into his personal journey from cobbler to global fashion icon.
“Education and skills are important,” he said. “If you have education, you can learn skills more quickly. You see more, you don’t need to ask people for too much advice.”
Professor Choo said he initially had a workshop in an old hospital, but people didn’t want to come to see him because there were reports of ghosts in the building.
However, that all changed when pop star and actress Kylie Minogue visited him and, suddenly, other British pop stars followed suit.
He stressed the importance of the design process and keeping designs fresh by never stopping work, giving back and embracing education.
“My family inspire me,” he told the audience. “My father inspired me how to be kind, work hard and be nice and respectful to people.
“My mum also inspired me to be kind and nice to people, and I share my love to my sister.” He told the pupils: “Whatever you do, please respect your family, schoolteachers and friends.
“Talk to each other and share what you see. If you ever lose your temper, please say sorry. If your mum and dad ever yell at you, maybe they’re tired, because in their heart they love you.”
Professor Choo is still actively working and designing – and has no plans to retire.
“I never feel that I work hard,” he said. “I do a lot of meditation; I think about something good and that helps me to relax. I also enjoy Chinese food. I love eating fish and chips – that’s my favourite British meal.”
He added: “I still want to work at 100 years old and create jobs for young people.”
After the talk, Professor Choo stayed behind to speak to children and their parents and offer advice to budding fashion students.
He also signed autographs and posed for photographs with staff, pupils and parents on a memorable night for Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools.