Choo was born in Penang, Malaysia, into a family of shoemakers. His family name is Chow but was misspelled on his birth certificate as Choo. He studied at Shih Chung Primary School in Love Lane, Penang. His father taught him how to make shoes, and he made his first shoe when he was 11 years old.
Education and career Choo graduated from Cordwainers Technical College in Hackney (now part of the London College of Fashion) in 1983. Choo worked part-time at restaurants and as a cleaner at a shoe factory to help fund his college education. After graduation Choo began work at a shop in Hackney which he opened in 1986 by renting an old hospital building. His craftsmanship and designs were soon noticed and his creations became featured in eight pages in a 1988 issue of Vogue. Patronage from Diana, Princess of Wales from 1990 further boosted his image.
In 1996 he co-founded Jimmy Choo Ltd with British Vogue magazine accessories editor Tamara Mellon. In April 2001, Choo sold his 50% stake in the company for £10 million. He has since concentrated his work on the exclusive Jimmy Choo Couture line produced under license from Jimmy Choo Ltd. The Jimmy Choo London line, also known as Jimmy Choo Ready-To-Wear or, simply, Jimmy Choo, is under the purview of Tamara Mellon. The ready-to-wear line has expanded to include accessories such as handbags.