Justin Smith graduated from the Royal College of Art, with an MA in millinery after studying the discipline for six years. Justin started his own label J Smith Esquire following the critical acclaim of his 2007 graduation show. From the start, Justin has produced his own collections, from Dance With Me in Autumn Winter 2008 to his latest collection Gold. Over the past ten years he has been involved with London, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks, as well as showcasing at emerging fashion weeks such as Jakarta and Rome Couture. Going from strength to strength, Justin has collaborated with high-end designers, from Stella McCartney to Moschino, Manish Arora to Aganovich, to name a few.
Known as the artist of the millinery world for pushing the boundaries of the tradition, Justin's design, teaching and consultation skills are constantly in demand. He has attracted numerous accolades, receiving awards for his artistic vision such as the British Council's Young Fashion Entrepreneur award, 2010. Most recently Justin was awarded the Generali Future Award At International Talent Support 2016 in Trieste, his second award from ITS. His work has maintained a constant presence in fashion's elite press and has been displayed in various galleries around the world, from Sydney to London's V&A. Several pieces are in the hands of international collectors and museums, such as the FIT in New York.
Justin passionately upholds the traditions of millinery, whilst redefining classic headwear, challenging conventions and technique alike. The quality of his work and keen eye for detail, lead to Justin being invited to showcase at Italian Vogue's Young Talent Exhibition and Alta Roma 2011. He returned to the RCA as a teacher and visiting lecturer and continues to hold seminars around the world.
While J Smith Esquire's bespoke work includes a prestigious portfolio of private clients, Justin continues to push his brand globally and across many sectors, from art installations to hotel uniforms and film work. Justin's aesthetic is fuelled by a ceaseless curiosity and throughout his career he has sewed, knitted, beaded, embroidered, painted, sculpted and created collections from origami to animals; from Victorian Burlesque to dapper English gentlemen, and from silver wire to tattooed pigskin.
Justin's work for major motion pictures includes the iconic leather headdress for Angelina Jolie's Maleficent (2014), hats for Jolie and Brad Pitt in By The Sea (2015), for Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Burke and sundry nuns in Pan (2015), for Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander in The Man from Uncle (2015) and for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).