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Where has John Richmond been?

The brand that left a mark on the 2000s aesthetics aims at relaunching starting from Shanghai

Where has John Richmond been? The brand that left a mark on the 2000s aesthetics aims at relaunching starting from Shanghai

Three different geographical coordinates, three different places from which to start to tell the history and the future of John Richmond, the brand founded by the British designer of the same name who left a mark on fashion at the beginning of the 2000s with four simple letters printed on a denim canvas. Born in Manchester but moved to London, Richmond found in the English city and its lively music scene the main source of inspiration for his aesthetic, which soon layered from leather jackets, skinny jeans, printed T-shirts, and a deep rock and rebel attitude. Italy, where the garments of the brand were manufactured, was a crucial market for Richmond's success, where the brand boasted a great network of stores expanding from Milan to Naples, that soon spread all over the world. Shanghai is finally the city chosen for the relaunch of the brand after a long legal battle and a period of oblivion, the place from which Richmond intends to start again, with the show staged a few days ago and with the opening of a new network of stores. 

Although the rock inspiration is one of the features most associated with Richmond, the brand can boast enviable tailoring, in a very contemporary mix of tastes and silhouettes that plays on contrasts and an irreverent and original interpretation of formalwear. The fame of the brand experienced an unprecedented expansion at the beginning of the 2000s, a success that kicked off with the collections released between 2003 and 2004 that brought those low-waisted jeans with the Rich lettering printed on the back to the catwalk for the first time. That single item, with lettering, soon re-proposed on a thousand other items, from jeans to tops to bags and caps, contributed, especially in Italy, to making Richmond a costume phenomenon that became part of the youth culture of the time, a young audience that appreciated the rebellious soul of the brand but also that immediate and recognizable branding. It was the beginning of a growth that also included the creation of different lines of fragrances (interpreted here in Italy by Aldo Montano and Belen and Stefano De Martino), in an attempt to create a brand that would tell and reflect also a specific lifestyle, a project fueled by provocative and therefore unforgettable advertising campaigns, often with exceptional faces such as Madonna

In 2015, with a surprise move, the Luxembourg company Fashioneast acquired 100% of the intellectual property rights of the various lines part of the John Richmond brand, such as Richmond X, Richmond Denim, Richmond, Richmond Junior and JR. It was the beginning of a long legal battle that went hand in hand with a certain creative haze for the brand and a consequent loss of interest from the public. In 2017, however, the brand joined the Arav group, which worked on a strategic plan for the relaunch of Richmond that looks above all to Asia. Furthermore, despite the pandemic, the brand's sales grew by 70% in 2020 on Farfetch, a success that will lead the brand, of which Richmond himself remained creative director, to the launch of a new e-commerce platform, in addition to the implementation of new collections, including jewellery and beauty collections, as well as collaborations that will be unveiled during the year. The expansion in Asia began with the opening of a showroom of over 5 thousand square meters in Shanghai, an opening celebrated with a show which brought the brand's revisited classics to the catwalk, from the contrast ultra-glam of black and white garments, animal prints, denim, up to the tribute to the Union Jack. 

A glorious past and global and unexpected success are two factors that often prevent brands from looking to the future with clarity, remaining too tied to old glories and certain successes. A danger that Richmond seems to have escaped very well, thanks to the new lifeblood that it's not afraid to experience, without sacrificing its own identity.