British Fashion Designer John Richmond Reflects On His Career Milestones, Memorable Collaborations And Sustaining Creativity

An embodiment of British ingenuity, fashion designer John Richmond has continuously made a considerable impact on both fashion and music since the post-war era, and is often associated with rock and roll and punk by fashion critics. However, his designs encompass a diverse spectrum of British musical genres, leaving a perpetual influence on global culture.

In the early ‘80s, Richmond made his way to Italy after completing his Fashion Design degree at Kingston University London. There, he collaborated with brands like Armani and Fiorucci, which were at the forefront of the fashion landscape during those years. Perhaps it was his English nonconformity that led him to establish his eponymous label. Richmond’s creative vision was shaped by the exuberance, novelty and the spontaneity inherent in youth and subculture. Celebrated artists who have worn his designs include David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Mick Jagger, and Axl Rose.

Now, he has expanded his presence in Southeast Asia with a new boutique here in Malaysia, ensconced on the ground floor of The Starhill in Kuala Lumpur. To celebrate this momentous occasion, a runway presentation was held, spotlighting Richmond’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection—taking cues from an eclectic mix of tribes and societal factions. “Introducing my brand here in Kuala Lumpur feels like the perfect fit,” Richmond says. “It serves as an excellent gateway to the wider Southeast Asian market. The project began a few years ago but, unfortunately, the pandemic caused some delays. But I’m happy that we’re finally able to open our doors here.”

How do you stay inspired and keep your creativity flowing amidst the demands of running a fashion label? 

I’ve never struggled to find inspiration. It’s everywhere, constantly evolving with the world around us. Like many designers, I absorb everything around me like a sponge. With the abundance of information available, particularly through social media, it can be overwhelming at times. But I do enjoy observing people, exploring online content, listening to music and visiting art galleries.

Are there any past trends you’d love to see make a comeback, or perhaps ones you’re glad have stayed in the past? 

It’s fascinating how fashion trends from the past are making a comeback now. Everything seems to have its moment of resurgence, and it’s refreshing to see old styles being reinvented with a new twist. I’ve even come across my own designs in vintage stores, which I see as a compliment. It shows that my work has made an impact and inspired others to take it further.

What’s the most memorable moment in your career so far? 

It’s difficult to pick just one as there have been so many. My journey into fashion was fuelled by the music of my youth. Artists and influential figures played a big role in shaping my creative path, and seeing these individuals wearing my designs was incredibly gratifying as they were the very people I admired and looked up to.

Can you recall a fashion mistake you made early in your career that you’ve since learned from? 

Creatively, I don’t view any missteps as major mistakes. I’ve found enjoyment in the learning process. When it comes to business decisions, I may have made some errors but that’s all part of the entrepreneurial journey. I’m a Capricorn so, naturally, I tend to focus more on the future rather than dwelling on the past. It’s about looking ahead and moving forward.

If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?

David Bowie and Prince stand out to me as exceptionally creative and brilliant individuals. Working with David, a fellow Capricorn, was particularly productive due to our compatibility. Although there are many artists I would be thrilled to collaborate with, both remain my top choices.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? 

I typically check my phone. I’ll look at the latest news, sports updates, browse Instagram, and then perhaps go through my email if there’s anything urgent. In London, I need to wake up at 6.30am to get my son ready for school and make sure he catches the bus on time. I usually help him get ready over a cup of tea before walking with him to the bus stop.

What do you crave most at the end of the day? 

I like to relax by either watching a good drama on Netflix or catching up on my reading.

How would you like to be remembered when your time on Earth is up?

I believe we all desire to leave behind a legacy based on our contributions, no matter how small. I hope that what I’ve accomplished serves as an inspiration for others to carry forward and continue progressing.

John Richmond

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