Maker Spotlight: ace&jig
Many of us have at one point considered starting a company with our best friend, but these dream-filled talks are often left as just that - stories to reminisce on in later years. Which is why if this once in a lifetime moment does occur, it feels serendipitous. All the more reason to be enamored with Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson, friends who founded cult textile label ace&jig.
The two started ace&jig (named after the initials of each of their first-born children Alice and James) with a vision to create timeless, season-less clothing made from their own designs. In line with our shared values of sustainability, our latest Fall launch features heirloom-worthy home pieces made with fabrics from the ace&jig archive.
Beyond being makers of quality textiles, they set the bar high on all fronts. From the Visible Mending initiative to their partnership with The Renewal Workshop, their contribution to the slow fashion movement continues to impact and inspire. Below, Cary and Jenna share their brand story, creative approach, and thoughts on conscious consumerism.
What draws you to the design of textiles?
For us, a great textile is as interesting in texture and color as it is in pattern. We love to experiment with different weights, pops of color, or with very small to very wide repeats of a pattern or stripe. The woven medium allows for an infinite number of possibilities; our favorite fabrics are made with this in mind.
How do you see textiles intersecting with interiors?
When we started ace&jig, we wanted to create new textiles that we hadn’t seen in apparel before. So much of our inspiration came from interiors and home items! From antique quilts to rich upholstery, to the colorful spaces we encountered when we traveled. Because of these influences, our textiles fit beautifully in the home.
All of your textiles are woven from yarn-dyed cotton, could you share a bit about what makes the material and yarn-dyed process special?
Oh my gosh, everything! The textile journey - from initial design to final production - is a long and beautiful one. Many people think our fabrics are printed because of the intricate designs that appear within them, but all of our patterns are created through the weaving process: the complex interlacing of warp and weft threads.
Our Fall collection is influenced by a "Want Better Not More" mentality. What does this mean to you as a brand and in your own homes?
Newer and more was never a core value at ace&jig. We believe in thoughtful purchases, made to be kept and treasured for many years. We have always loved vintage - at home and in what we wear. Our homes are filled with textiles from travel, family heirlooms, and antique items - things that carry history and nostalgia and bring us joy. We set out to make each ace&jig item or collaboration evoke these feelings, and last a lifetime.
Could you tell us more about the inspiration behind the Opera, Topanga, and Dusk fabrics used for our Schoolhouse pillows?
The inspiration for this collection was food pioneer Alice Waters, who once said “It’s around the table and in the preparation of food that we learn about ourselves and about the world.”
"We looked to our dinner tables and found earthy tones layered gracefully: natural hues and textures harmoniously mixed together."
The inspiration of home, and the sense of sharing and community that originally inspired this collection made these textiles perfect for our home collaboration with Schoolhouse.
Now more than ever, conscious consumerism is making its way into people’s minds and homes. How do you see ace&jig contributing to this conversation? What’s one simple thing we can do, as individuals, to do our part?
We started thinking about every item we make and where it will end up. How do we extend its lifespan, keep it out of landfills, and make it easier for our customers to join us in this effort? For years, we’ve hosted swaps and encouraged customers to pass on their items, repair them, upcycle them, or thoughtfully recycle them! We recently launched an exciting circular program with The Renewal Workshop that allows customers to send back well-loved or damaged items to be renewed. Extending the lifespan of a garment through any one of these practices is an impactful thing we can do to limit each garment’s environmental impact.
We talk a lot about the creative process, but as a business owner, there are a lot of logistical aspects that come up! What are some highlights and challenges of the business side of things?
These last months have forced us to reexamine everything. Covid made us scale back, and in doing so, we realized just how fast we were moving. We are going forward with a renewed commitment to create less clothing and to make things more thoughtfully.
Photography courtesy of ace&jig