Designer Lucy Choi London
THE INTERVIEW BY KARLIE kILMER
1. What was the inspiration behind creating Lucy Choi London?
Shoes are part of my DNA so I have always wanted to create my own brand. As a child, I would watch my uncle Jimmy craft beautiful bespoke shoes and from then on I believe that fashion and footwear were an inevitable part of my destiny and I knew that I would eventually follow my heart and family into the shoe industry.
My inspiration behind the Lucy Choi London brand came after spending 10 years working in the city in the financial business world and then 10 years in the shoe industry working for ballet flat specialist French sole. It was at this turning point in my career that I felt I had enough skills in business, finance and fashion to set up my own venture with confidence. I had also been inspired by the two different worlds, learning what it is exactly that savvy, working women really need and desire from their shoes. I saw clearly that there was a gap in the market for stylish and luxurious, but also comfortable and affordable, shoes for all occasions, and for women of all ages and tastes. The Lucy Choi London ethos was born out of my idea to create affordable luxury, and questioning, why should you always feel you must spend hundreds of pounds for a pair of beautiful shoes! My shoes must fit my 3 C’s: Comfort, Craftsmanship and Character.
I noticed that there were huge disparities in price ranges between other brands, with designers charging over £900 and high street stores charging very low prices and also prices up to £200. My idea is to pioneer both craftsmanship and design, alongside an ethos that luxury should be accessible and affordable.
2. Can you describe the design process, what was it like?
Every time I design a pair of shoes I think of our motto “Rock and Royal”, which to me is typified by the two Kates - style icons Kate Moss and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. Some shoes represent the edgy and iconic Kate Moss, other shoes the elegant and classic Kate Middleton, and many are a combination of the two! They will always stay in an affordable price range, but they must always have that wow factor. I love to use a combination of different textures and colours to make each different design individual and stand out, with soft leathers, suede, detailed intricate lace, or bright neon patent colours, transparent iridescent finishes, stud detailing and gemstones.
3. Heels or flats?
Heels of course! But, as I am now a working mother of two young children I do have to pop on flats occasionally for the school run and hectic days when I am popping between meetings! When I design my flats I make sure they have something fun and playful about them, so that they too have that special twist and stand out.
4. Do you prefer a day-time shoe or night-time shoe? Or perhaps both?
I love a shoe that works from day-to-night! I will always bear that in mind when I am designing a collection and that is why the comfort factor is so important to me. My customers are often working women who need a shoe that they can wear confidently in the office and then out for after-work drinks and on in to the evening. For me, it’s so important. I am in meetings around London all through day and love to wear heels to feel glamorous and elegant – but they need to be comfortable and striking enough that I can then wear them on into the evening to fit in with my busy schedule.
5. Tell me 3 things people don't know about you?
1. I can’t drive!
2. I can survive on 2 hours sleep over a week!
3. I love eating crisps!
6. As the niece of such a famous shoe designer, would you say it was more of a challenge or a blessing?
Both! Being Jimmy’s niece has opened doors for me which is of course a blessing, but at the same time it is a challenge because I want to uphold the highest quality and craftsmanship in my shoes, maintaining what I like to call the 3 C’s: Comfort, Character and Craftsmanship. I am extremely close to my uncle and have learnt many lessons from watching him at work, especially his strong work ethic and values. He has always been a role model and a mentor to me and I learnt early on that nothing in life comes easy and you must give 110%. My uncle has always stayed true to his belief in himself, in his workmanship, and in delivering his promises, and so I have been striving to stay true to those values that he instilled in me while establishing my own unique shoe label.
7. Favorite shoe from your collection that you're absolutely obsessed with?
At the moment I am loving my Campbell Red high heels. They’ve got a striking geometric pattern on them, the iridescent transparent colour standing out against the bright red patent leather. I also love my Kidd Purple heels – the reflective colour is so vibrant and exciting. I love wearing black and so they both really set off every outfit.
8. I noticed in some of your other interviews, you are a huge Audrey Hepburn fan. She is so iconic and absolutely gorgeous, what did you love most about her style?
Of course, Audrey Hepburn is iconic and classically elegant. When I design my collections I always keep my “Rock ‘n’ Royal” motto in mind, inspired by the two Kates: Kate Middleton & Kate Moss. Some shoes express a sense of “Rock”, some “Royal”, and others a striking combination of the two!
9. If you weren't a big time shoe designer, what would you be doing?
A day dreamer on a desert island!
10. Describe your signature look for me in 5 words
Comfort, Craftsmanship, Character, Wow Factor.