Richmond moved from Manchester to London, then eventually to Milan to pursue his dreams. He graduated in fashion design from Kingston University in 1982, and straight away designed his own collection under his own name while collaborating with such brands as Armani, Joseph Tricot, and Fiorucci.

In 1984 he formed The Richmond-Cornejo label with Ravensbourne graduate Maria Cornejo. Since 1987, Richmond has worked under his own name producing three lines, the mainline: John Richmond, the second line: Richmond X, and the denim line: Richmond Denim.