Biography

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"Justin Smith is an amazing artist." Angelina Jolie, actor and filmmaker.


Justin Smith graduated from the Royal College of Art, with an MA in Millinery after studying the discipline for 6 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 his 'Dance With Me' A/W 2008 collection to his latest collection called 'Gold'. Over the past ten years he has been involved with London, Paris and Milan Fashion weeks, as well 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 Aurora to Aganovich, to name a few.


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"It is very refreshing to see a different point of view in millinery at last. Justin’s hats have culture and they are original.” Stephen Jones, milliner.


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.


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"A unique way of visualising hats.” Sarah Maino, senior fashion editor, Vogue Italia.


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, also lead to Justin being invited to showcase at Italian Vogue's Young Talent Exhibition and subsequently, Alta Roma, 2011. He even returned to the RCA as a teacher and visiting lecturer, and continues to hold seminars around the globe. While J Smith Esquire's bespoke work includes a prestigious portfolio of 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 gentleman, and from silver knitted wire to tattooed pigskin.


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"Justin’s creations are complete. They are outfits. They dress you from head to toe. It’s the hat that tells you what you should wear underneath, not vice versa." Susanna Cucco, curator of Alta Roma.