Justin Smith
The Heart

January 1st 1978

(HE)ARTwork for the ARK

Justin was asked to develop an object, an artwork, that represents the spirit of Swatch and its commitment to supporting young creative talents (especially with the Swatch Art Peace Hotel). The “object” will remain in the Arcademy as a “founding stone” of this new project and as a memento of Swatch & ITS relationship. It will be at the heart of the new adventure, an emotional and emotion-generating piece.

Feel FREE. Follow your EMOTIONS. Work with your HEART. Create an artwork that becomes a statement of who you are ‑ and that includes the 4 pillars of Swatch language: COLOR ‑ TRANSPARENCY ‑ MOVEMENT ‑ LIGHTNESS. We ask your work to represent a strong emotion, to carry a positive message, to celebrate energy and creativity.

We expect your work to be a pulsing, lively, powerful, and fun! piece."

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Watch the latest video

Episode 7


Building The Ark INSIGHTS, the backstories from our Building The Ark web series.

In this final insight of Episode 7 "RUBEDO" which wraps-up the web series we take a closer look at the photo shoots of the final projects by milliner Justin Smith, Noa Baruch and Olivia Rubens.

We also get to see more footage of Diesel, Swatch and Allianz, the partners involved in the project, with Diesel Creative Director Glenn Martens, Swatch Art Peace Hotel CEO Carlo Giordanetti and ITS Arcademy Director Barbara Franchin for Allianz, providing final feedback to the designers.

We also look back at the amazing locations in our Friuli Venezia Giulia region, breathtaking home to the production of the web series, and we explain the grand finale with our muse Martina Vodanova.

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About Justin Smith

Known as the artist of the millinery world, Justin's designs are iconic, attracting numerous accolades and displayed in galleries around the world. Since his critically acclaimed 2007 RCA Masters show, his design, teaching and consultation skills have been in constant demand. Over 15 years, under his couture brand "J Smith Esquire", he has designed for screen, stage and projects requiring innovative fashion-forward creations.

While J Smith Esquire's bespoke work includes a distinguished portfolio of clients, Justin continues to push his brand globally and across many sectors, from art installations to fashion and film work. In 2017, Justin opened his shop in London's old millinery quarter of De Beauvoir Town.

His highly desirable artisanal work offers something unique to the wearer, while emphasising quality, sustainability and style.

Justin Smith is an amazing artist

Angelina Jolie

More About Justin

Millinery Cut 30 Seconds Film


J Smith Esquire


How to buy a hat that suits you (from someone who knows)


Other Episodes

Episode 7


Noa, Justin and Olivia complete their projects and receive feedback from their supporting partners. We finally see their creations and complete this creative journey, flying back to where it all began and where new seeds are sown, to grow our dreams.

Noa Baruch meets with Diesel Creative Director Glenn Martens - a designer she has admired and loved for many years - to look at the prototype and final advice on detail refinement. It is a dream come true for her to develop this project at Diesel HQ and to receive professional feedback from someone she has looked up to for so long.

Justin Smith talks about details with Carlo Giordanetti - Management Swatch International, CEO Swatch Art Peace Hotel - the silversmithing for the top hat frame and the production of a lifecast of himself to shape a mannequin to wear the hat. The installation interacts with viewers and references Swatch by including a clock mechanism.

For Allianz, insuring the future of its customers is fundamental and sustainability is key to this process. Which is why they challenged Olivia Rubens to imagine the future of sustainability in fashion. During a conversation with ITS Arcademy Director Barbara Franchin we discover the difficulties she came up against while finalising the production of her outfit.

We can appreciate their completed projects. Noa and Justin fly to Trieste, Italy, to shoot them at Azimut Studio with photographer Massimo Gardone. Olivia organises a studio photoshoot letting us video a sneak peek with her camera.

The web series ends with our Building The Ark muse facing a waterfall (Fontanone di Goriuda in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region) receiving a seed which represents the birth of a new dream called ITS Arcademy.

Episode 6


Building The Ark INSIGHTS, the backstories from our Building The Ark web series.

In the insight of Episode 6 "JOURNEY" we're introduced to Tomasz Donocik, celebrated jewellery designer and former ITS finalist collaborating with Justin for his project Building The Ark.

We also find out about "Utopia", the concept developed for the 15th edition of ITS held in 2016 (the surreal and quasi-psychedelical space our muse travels through in episode 6).

We get to know more about Post Carbon Lab and the bacterial coating that is applied onto Olivia Rubens' outfit, turning it into a living organism with photosynthetic / pollution-filtering properties.

Episode 6


Noa Baruch, Justin Smith and Olivia Rubens begin to close in on the final realisation of their pieces. Study, develop, experiment are key in unleashing creativity and in this episode we will be spectators.

Noa is transitioning from her two-dimensional sketches to the three-dimensional prototypes, developing tests and solving problems along the way. Justin is receiving ITS Family support from acclaimed jewellery designer and past finalist Tomasz Donocik for the development of the silver parts of his headwear piece. Olivia is applying the bacterial coating that will apply photosynthesis to her outfit turning it green (from all points of view).

As the projects come closer and closer to their completion, magical plants will guide us through an inner journey to discover the link to our final destination.

Episode 5


Building The Ark INSIGHTS: get to know all the backstories of Building The Ark. The prequels, the people, the spoilers, the buzz!

In the insight of Episode 5 of our BTA web series we step inside the Headquarters of ITS, located in the same building where ITS Arcademy will be, and we get to know Trieste, a small city on the Adriatic coast of Italy, far from the usual beaten paths of fashion, which has always been the home of ITS.

This is where ITS staff perpetually works to analyse, catalog and preserve all the portfolios collected in 20 years. The portfolios are central to the history of ITS and they go from wildly artistic to pragmatically technical.

Finally, this insight presents the amazing photo project currently in progress by Azimut Studio with photographer Massimo Gardone, which will be premiered during the online event in November 2021.

Episode 5


Our 3 designers receive feedback on their proposals and share their thoughts and goals.

Like guardian angels, invisible to the naked eye but perceptible to the soul, we will visit the places and connect with the people making ITS Arcademy a reality.

Episode 3


Building The Ark INSIGHTS: get to know all the backstories of Building The Ark. The prequels, the people, the spoilers, the buzz!

In the insight of Episode 3 of our BTA web series we meet Carlo Giordanetti - CEO Swatch Art Peace Hotel – interfacing with milliner Justin Smith as he develops the “Heart” brief by Swatch. A heart was also at the core of the “Sincerely True” concept of ITS 2019, as well as being the purest, simplest universal symbol that embodies the meaning of ITS.

One section transports us back to ITS 2014 “Lucid Dream” and showcases the “Over the Rainbow” video sung by former finalists in 2009.

We are also introduced to the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, a residency for artists, where talents form all over the world can apply to live and work in Shanghai. A lively community built on Swatch passion for artists and their work.

Episode 3


Swatch continues to support ITS, now through ITS Arcademy, in the fitting form of a collaboration between milliner Justin Smith and Swatch Art Peace Hotel for a project based on the concept of HEART.

In the ideal continuation of Swatch’s support to ITS and now to ITS Arcademy, milliner Justin Smith is working on the Swatch Art Peace Hotel project based on the concept of HEART. His artwork will remain in the ITS Arcademy as a founding stone and as a memento of the Swatch & ITS relationship.

In this episode we visit Justin’s workshop and witness his sources of inspiration and craftsmanship, as he ponders over love and creativity. A multifaceted symbol, a Heart, with a little dose of training and commitment, will transport us inside a fantastic lucid dream.

Episode 1


Building The Ark INSIGHTS: get to know all the backstories of Building The Ark.
The prequels, the people, the spoilers, the buzz!

Episode 1 INSIGHT: Olivia, Justin, Noa and ITS, International Talent Support

Episode 1


Noa, Justin and Olivia. Three fashion designers working on three concepts to create amazing pieces of art. Get to know them, see their faces, visit their places of work. Discover how they are preparing for this journey. Meanwhile another journey is beginning, wakening up from 2020 directly in 2021, an adventure that will take us through the past, the present and the future of ITS.