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The 8 Ball: Ace & Jig

Ace & Jig | Spring 2018 | Covet + Lou

ACE & JIG: Jenna Wilson and Cary Vaughan come from opposite sides of the continent; they met in NYC as fashion design interns and together created Ace & Jig in 2009 in a woven collaboration. Based on original textiles, their line centers around timeless garments with an effortless, enduring ethos.

How do your independent hometowns influence your designs?

JENNA: Portland's somber poetic mellow strangeness seeps in. It's moody in the winter and so green in the spring and summer. I'm definitely influenced by the activism here in general business sense.

CARY: New York is chaotic and colorful and a cultural hub! It's maximalist in the truest sense - so many sights and sounds and colors and smells everywhere you go.

What did you wear in high school?

J: A multitude of dramatic phases. Goth-ish grunge phase: black on black combat boots, green hair; Joni Mitchell phase: flowing hippie dresses, hats, and Chinese slippers; Androgynous phase: men’s suits, wingtips, and ties; Rollergirl phase: sporty knee highs, heart glasses, and overalls; Twin Peaks phase: fitted angora sweaters, pencil skirts, and saddle shoes.

C: Converse high tops, grunge bell bottoms, cropped vintage home dyed tees, fringe vests, customized cut off jeans, vintage cowboy boots, thrifted corduroy, an extreme collection of silver bangles and antique silver brackets halfway up my arm, and gigantic silver hoop earrings, very tan skin & Clinique black honey lipstick.

What attracts you to the art of textiles? How did you create them, and why have they carried meaning through your lives?

J: I'm a tactile creature! I've always loved fibers, and I used to knit outfits for my dolls and stuffed animals. I love a good mess of texture and pattern with pops of color. There's also a strong sense of nostalgia attached to textiles - they carry sensory stuff—smells n' feels—but they also carry stories and memories.

C: My grandmother, "Big Ma", was a mother of eight and an antique collector and business owner. I grew up surrounded by her textile collection! And spent countless hours in her colors and textures and patterns. I worked many estate sales with her, starting a lifelong love of history, textiles, and treasures.

What stories do your designs tell?

There’s a real mix of stories! We love to translate many different types inspiration into the woven medium. Whether it’s a traditional cable knit sweater, a landscape or sunset, or the particular blue of a bottle cap, we like to think all these stories and more make it into our fabrics.

What roles do your kids play in your life?

THE BIGGEST AND BEST! Part of everything: every joy, every pain, inspirations in every sense of heart, head and hand.

Describe a typical morning in your household.

CHAOS. Laughter. Tears. Giant spill. Negotiations. Many changes of clothes. noise. music. Dancing (on weekends—weekdays are too harried!) and always COFFEE & TEA!

What draws you to the place you travel? How have they impacted your perspective?

The textures, colors, culture, tradition of new places is a huge influence on our design and perspective. We travel to see the differences in all of these, to seek respite from our busy lifestyles, to find adventure in the new. Our travels seep into everything we do.

How has Ace & Jig cultivated such a vibrant community? What unique aspects of your brand bring people together?

Our fabrics are heartfelt and emotional, and we're thrilled and so lucky that a vibrant community of women feel the same way we do about them! We try wherever possible to promote the meet ups and swaps and repurposing of fabrics that we've witnessed. There's a really collectible aspect to our fabrics -- they last, and retain or gain value over time, they can be traded, and people connect to different ones in different ways.