Compiling weekly wish lists is a risky business. More often than not I’ll stumble upon something so exciting I find myself still staring at my computer screen two hours later, now having achieved a damn thing. Lucy Choi London was one such distraction. Whilst browsing MATCHESFASHION.COM and My-Wardrobe I spied a pair of sparkly stilettos so damn delectable I nearly fainted at the price tag, an unbelievably resonable £195! Naturally this discovery demanded further attention so I promptly set about reading up on this exciting young designer and writing a post in homage to her fabulous footwear (which you can read here). Since then, Lucy Choi London has become a major fave among fashion folk, especially shoe addicts without Imelda Marcos sized bank accounts. Even more intriguing is the fact that she just so happens to be the niece of none other than Jimmy Choo! I caught up with Lucy to find out more…
LPA: As the niece of footwear legend, Jimmy Choo, it’s tempting to imagine your upbringing being all celebrities and stilettos. What was it really like?
LC: I was brought up in Hong Kong by my grandparents from a very early age with my sister and the main focus was on education, sport and morals in our household. It definitely wasn’t glamorous! We were taught the value of hard work, to be true to ourselves and follow our dreams. I lived in Hong Kong until I was 11 and then moved back to the UK. Growing up in two such thriving and exciting cities definitely influenced me and my future career path.
LPA: Much has been made of your lineage but how greatly do think it has actually shaped your career? What have you found to be the greatest advantages and disadvantages of having a footwear legend for an uncle?
LC: Prior to my ten enjoyable years at French Sole I worked in the city where I carved out my own, separate career path. I could have gone straight in to the fashion world but I wanted to get an understanding of the business world first. This is where I learnt invaluable lessons in finance and how to manage every aspect of a business. I cannot deny having the family connections I do has influenced my career but it has certainly not defined it. My Uncle has always been a mentor figure and installed in me from a young age the importance of giving 110% and I feel lucky to have such a person in my life.
LPA: Did you always see yourself going into the fashion/footwear industry or did something specific make you realise that it was the path for you?
LC: Yes, I knew early on that I wanted to do something for myself. I could have chosen an easier path to join the family business but decided that I wanted to work in the financial world first, before following my heart into the fashion world.
LPA: Before launching Lucy Choi London, you held the position of MD at iconic footwear brand, French Sole. Giving that up to go it alone was a pretty bold move I must say! For want of a better phrase, what gave you the balls to do it?
LC: Yes, looking back I suppose it was brave! At the same time it felt like a very natural step for me. I learnt so much at my time with French sole and enjoyed 10 happy years working there. My previous experience in business and fashion worlds, combined with my shoe heritage gave me the confidence I needed to start my own collection. I’m not going to pretend it’s easy; I am a new mother and launched the new business in the same year. I’ve invested my time and own money into my business so it is more of a risk, but I’m confident in business as I have so much experience. I am enjoying every moment and am finding it very rewarding, my moto in life is to enjoy what I do. I’m also lucky to have a strong team and a very supportive family, my husband Jon was behind me all the way. To make it work you have to have a strong partnership – I truly believe that behind every business there is a strong partner! His support has allowed me to juggle both the birth of my business and my baby.
LPA: Your brand’s ethos is “Rock n’ Royal”, what inspired this motto? And, on a practical level, what does it actually mean?
LC: The collection is based on the principal that we provide luxurious, affordable shoes for women of all ages and for every occasion. As girls I think we like to play around with our image. Some days you might feel like embracing your inner rock chick, other days you might want something more elegant and classic. The collection reflects my own personal style and that inner chameleon all girls have!
LPA: Talk me through a day in the life of Lucy Choi…
LC: Well it’s usually an early start with my son Thomas, he’s quite a character and itching to walk so he keeps me on my toes. I work just as many hours as I did before Thomas, but I have had to become more efficient and work on less sleep. Every day is different! I travel at least twice a year to Hong Kong, Spain and to Italy to design each new collection and oversee production. On other days I could be in the office, meeting with press or buyers to show the new season collections. Each day is rarely the same, I like to be involved in all aspects of the business from the warehouse to the showroom I like to make sure I’m back at home with my son for the afternoon and bath time.
LPA: So you’ve got footwear sorted for life. Which brands do you favour when it comes to clothes?
LC: I very rarely wear colour and I love black, it’s so chic and flawless. I tend layer different textures and fabrics to create my look. I like to wear different designers depending on the occasion. Wolf and Badger is my go to store, I’m wearing a lot of Vielma at the moment. It is important for me to support young and upcoming designers, everyone needs a chance. For formal wear I love Collette Dinnigan and Alice Temperley dresses. For every day wear and weekends, I live in my jeans and I love AG, J Brand and Current Elliott. Matches is perfect when I need something special, one off pieces for events or press meetings. I also love My Wardrobe, the service is amazing, it’s easy to navigate and they stock Lucy Choi London – it’s the perfect synergy with my own label.
LPA: The phrase “style icon” is one we hear a lot these days. Who, if anyone, do you think truly deserved to be called “iconic”?
LC: Audrey Hepburn, she was the epitomy of style and beauty.
LPA: When adding to your team, are there any particular qualities or qualifications you look for in prospective employees or interns?
LC: I think its important to surround yourself with a with a variety of characters so everyone brings different strengths and something unique to the team. I look for people who are loyal and not afraid to work hard. I also look for people who are calm and efficient under pressure as fashion is such a fast paced industry, plus I am a bit of a perfectionist and I like things to be done in a certain way. We have a very open office environment; everyone’s ideas and opinions are welcomed and nurtured.
LPA: Where do you hope to see Lucy Choi London in 5 years time?
LC: In 5 years time I would love to have opened our first boutique in London. I also hope to see the brand increase its international presence and become a globally recognized brand. I am so grateful for the overwhelming support from press and customers we have had throughout our first year.
Love Ella. X