J Smith Esquire was founded in 2007 by Justin Smith with a vision to hand produce the very finest millinery, respecting traditional skills while pushing the boundaries of convention.

The label has gone from strength to strength, from fashion to film, collected and exhibited, J Smith Esquire hats grace the most celebrated and discerning of heads. Ten years on, the first J Smith Esquire atelier opened in London’s old millinery quarter of De Beauvoir Town.

Justin Smith

Known as the artist of the millinery world for pushing the boundaries of the tradition, Justin Smith passionately upholds the craft of millinery, whilst redefining classic headwear, challenging conventions and technique alike.

Justin has had a lifelong passion about all things for the head, he collected hats as a child and hasn’t stopped since. With his great-grandmother being a milliner and his grandmother an embroider, making hats was in his heritage. After an award-winning career in hairdressing and running his own central London salon, he studied Millinery for seven years, graduating with a distinction from the prestigious Royal College of Art.

Justin Smith’s design, consultation and teaching skills are greatly in demand, and he has won numerous accolades for his innovative approach. With several pieces in the hands of international collectors, Justin’s work has been exhibited in galleries, as well as displayed and permanently held in museums like London’s V&A and New York’s FIT.

“It is very refreshing to see a different point-of-view in millinery at last. Justin’s hats have culture and they are original, Justins work is exciting because he makes hats which challenge the aesthetics set by myself or Phillip Treacy."

Stephen Jones OBE - milliner