Tamara Mellon on how she first met footwear designer Jimmy Choo

While rumours continue to circulate over whose next in line to take over the Jimmy Choo franchise, the label’s founder, Tamara Mellon, has revealed how her partnership with the famous footwear designer began.

“I used to go down and I used to get Jimmy to make things for shoots,” says Tamara. “I’d go down to his studio in Hackney and I’d say ‘ok I’m doing a Grecian story and I want a gladiator sandal with studs, and I want it in metallic silver.’ He’d make it; I’d photograph it and give him a credit in Vogue. There were other editors doing this as well. But that’s how his name became known – because I was doing that for five years.”

Thanks to Tamara and her industry knowledge, Mr. Choo propelled his name onto the fashion scene, leaving the new-found business duo to divide their roles within the footwear company.

“What happened was I approached Jimmy and I said ‘Ok we will be equal partners in this. I will run all operations.’ So I went and found factories in Italy, I set up our production company in Italy,” explains Mellon to Vogue UK. “I opened a stall and I bought in all the wholesale clients.”

But it seems Ms. Mellon wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in the name of success during the early days – even cleaning the shop floor in her spare time.

“When I look back at the early days I was helping customers on the shop floor,” she says. “I was cleaning the shop floor and then running downstairs to fax orders to the factories in Italy. And then going on an inspiration trip to get inspiration to design the collection.”

All in a day’s work, eh?

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